Surrey Brown Caps 253 (47.5 Overs) v Somerset Sabres 279-5 (50 Overs). Somerset win by 26 runs.

With all but three of their side under the age of twenty-six it is Somerset, rather than Surrey, who appear to be benefiting from using the Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy competition as a breeding ground for their stars of tomorrow. Having said that, with two defeats from their opening three matches, it seems quite possible that the Brown Caps will look at the South Group table and conclude that they only stand an outside chance winning it; even though there are six fixtures still to come. So, there is no need for the likes of Rory Hamilton-Brown and Stewart Walters to bemoan their lack of opportunities just yet.

The key to the outcome yesterday was Surrey's lethargic start in response to the Sabre's 279 for five, which, if anything, looked a touch under par. The hosts made just 75 runs off their first fifteen overs for the loss of Jonathan Batty and Mark Butcher. Batty was caught at second slip off the last delivery of the second over. Butcher was run out for a quick 33 after being called through for an optimistic single by James Benning, who had picked out James Hildreth at extra cover. With Benning departing in the 17th over, trying to run Charl Willoughby down to third man, the stage was set for a vintage combustion-filled innings from Alistair Brown.

When Brown charged Dan Cullen and put the Aussie spinner over his head for a six and Mark Ramprakash was dropped at mid-wicket, on 18, in the very next over, the Brown Caps must have sensed their luck was in. Their prospects improved even further when Brown drove Cullen through wide mid-on for four to bring up the fifty stand for the fifth wicket in 51 deliveries.

But Brown's demise, caught behind for 48 off 40 balls, marked the beginning of the end for Surrey. With Ramprakash - who hit 56 off 75 deliveries, including a straight six into the members' pavilion off Keith Parsons - being caught at cover point and Azhar Mahmood being trapped leg before in the space of four balls from Cameron White, the game swung firmly back towards Somerset. When Rikki Clarke charged Arul Suppiah and thus yorked himself, Mark Butcher's men were left needing an unlikely 50 to win off six overs.

Having been put in, Somerset's total was founded on Wood and Suppiah's 100-run stand in 19 overs for the second wicket. Matthew Wood hit 92 off 100 balls including three boundaries in Clarke's third over; which rather spoilt a good start for the Surrey all-rounder, who had Carl Gazzard caught at backward point. Suppiah, who batted with less fluency, made 63 in 86 deliveries including the only maximum of the innings, over extra cover off the bowling of Nayan Doshi.

Wood was eventually run out when he pushed to the ball cover and was sent back. With Ian Salisbury applying the brakes the visitors looked as if they might struggle to set Surrey in excess of five an over. The former England leg-spinner picked up the wicket of Suppiah, who drilled a return catch. Parsons perished in the next over, leg before playing across the line to Jade Dernbach, who also accounted for White with a full-length delivery on off-stump. But with 45 runs coming off the last five overs, thanks to Hildreth and Durston, Somerset probably felt they had enough at the halfway stage.