Skipper: We were off the pace, despite win
IF SURREY beat Hampshire on Sunday it will mark their best start to a one-day season since 2003.
That was the year the Lions went on to be crowned one-day champions in addition to lifting the inaugural Twenty20 Cup.
Surrey have not claimed any meaningful silverware since.
But many are tipping them to put that right in 2011.
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Eight years ago, the club's chairman at the time, Mike Soper, dubbed the Oval outfit the Manchester United of Cricket.
The remark has been thrown back in Surrey's face on countless occasions, but now, like United, the Lions are winning one-day games even when they appear to be off colour.
Skipper Rory Hamilton-Brown admits morale is high in the camp.
He said: "I think we have played well in the CB40, but we've only been at 70 per cent, 80 per cent max, so we've got 20 to 30 per cent to go to in one-day cricket.
"There's a lot of big games coming up and obviously only one side goes through [to the semi-finals], so we need to get on a roll.
"The game against Hampshire is massive for us."
Hamilton-Brown believes his side are already showing maturity and points out a distinct improvement on last season.
"We are winning games we probably wouldn't have won a year or so ago, so it's nice to see that we can play at 70 per cent and get a result, but it was a bit too close for comfort for me in the Leicester game," he added.
"We were slightly off the pace and I don't think that's good enough. It's not what we expect of ourselves."
Competition for places is such that, to date, the star of the Lions' Clydesdale Bank 40 campaign has been Matthew Spriegel, who cannot get into Surrey's four-day side.
Manager Chris Adams took the bold step of leaving the fit-again Kevin Pietersen out of the side for last weekend's encounter against Scotland.
Thanks to Spriegel's unbeaten 82 off 73 balls the former England captain was not conspicuous by his absence. But, this Sunday, Whitgift School plays host to Pietersen's old county, Hampshire.
It'll be interesting to see whether Adams unleashes Pietersen, who, you can be sure, will be out to prove a point to the team that refused to play him when he was available last season.