Surrey made it three in a row at the AEGON Summer County Cup in Eastbourne after a comfortable win over Derbyshire.
The county has not won the Group One title since 2000 but a dominant 6-3 victory over their Midlands rivals means they could be about to end their 12-year drought at Devonshire Park.
It was a match that Surrey was expected to win and they duly lived up to their favourites tag, leading the tie throughout the day.
And non-playing captain Danny Sapsford was confident his team would do the business.
“Going into the match we were probably the favourites,” said Sapsford. “But there was no way we were going to take the opposition lightly.
“All of the teams in the draw are capable of causing an upset.
“To be unbeaten at this stage is great and in my five or six years as captain this is definitely the best chance we’ve had at winning the tournament.
“Five years ago we brought in a lot of young players and they have got themselves out of Group Two and into Group One and are now doing the business here.”
Elsewhere, Kent lost their first game of the tournament to the ever-improving Norfolk side. The match could have gone either way but the pairing of Richard Bloomfield and James Auckland remained composed to ensure a 5-4 victory.
In the other match taking place, Hertfordshire thrashed Cheshire 8-1.
In the women’s section, Buckinghamshire remain unbeaten after recording their third straight victory of the tournament – the first time they’ve achieved that feat in the county’s history.
Their match with Surrey was undoubtedly the tie of the round as both sides were still undefeated.
It was finely poised with either team capable of winning the contest going into the last three matches of the day, but Buckinghamshire showed all their experience to win 6-3.
Should Buckinghamshire win today it will set up a mouth-watering match-up with Hertfordshire in a title decider on Friday.
After the match, team captain Alison Longfield did her best not to get carried away with her team’s achievement.
“It was an excellent win and one that puts us in a really strong position,” she said.
“To be unbeaten after three matches is a phenomenal effort. It gives us plenty of confidence for the remaining matches.
“I think we are all starting to get a little nervous and if we manage to win tomorrow, Friday will be a real nail biter.”
Hertfordshire, the 2010 champions, continued to impress and their 6-3 victory over Hampshire and the Isle of Wight rarely looked in doubt.
In the final match of the day, Lancashire beat Middlesex 7-2.
For more information on the AEGON Summer County Cup, visit: www.lta.org.uk/AEGON-County-Cup
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