Cricket: Watkin's lifeline

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Yorkshire 339 & 170-3; Glamorgan 208

WITH little else going right for them in this game, Glamorgan were thrown a lifeline by the rain, which washed out most of the final session at Cardiff.

When the rain came down at 4.44pm, Yorkshire had proceeded to a steady 170 for three, a lead of 301 with 28 overs to bowl. Martyn Moxon must have been thinking of setting Glamorgan a target of around 375 and sending them in yesterday evening for an awkward half-hour. Now Yorkshire must wrap it up in three sessions, a somewhat taller order.

Moxon himself was the dominant figure in Yorkshire's second innings, moving to a fine unbeaten 88 full of his trademark drives and cuts. He hit 10 fours off 186 balls and in the process passed 15,000 runs for Yorkshire since his debut in 1981. He survived two chances, Colin Metson missing a sharp leg-side inside edge off Robert Croft on 40 and Steve James spilling another hard chance at short mid-on on 65.

Young Michael Vaughan went early, caught behind off Watkin, but Moxon and David Byas put on 97 for the second wicket before Byas smote Adrian Dale to midwicket where Watkin held a splendid catch.

It is always a pleasure to see Richie Richardson at the wicket, not only for his strokeplay but because he scorns a helmet, a throwback to the days when you could identify batsmen with ease. Moxon would doubtless disagree: his helmet saved him when clattered by an Ottis Gibson bouncer. Richardson was out for 21 to the last ball before tea, miscuing one sweep too many off Croft to Maynard at backward short-leg.

If Yorkshire fail to win, they cannot wholly blame the weather. With Glamorgan on 183, still seven runs short of avoiding the follow-on, and the last pair at the crease, Watkin was dropped by Vaughan at first slip off the lively Darren Gough. Thus reprieved, he edged an airy wave to the third- man boundary and Glamorgan were off the hook.

With Metson going for his shots at the other end, the last- wicket stand was eventually worth 43, Metson remaining undefeated on 36.

Poor Vaughan, the captain of England's Under-19s last winter, is finding the going tough in county cricket. As well as missing that vital catch he has scored only eight runs in this match and made a dispiriting start to the season. But perhaps his luck is turning. In the Yorkshire team sweep he drew Eric Cantona to score the first goal in the Cup final.

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