Cricket: Bicknell anchors Surrey's ship: Glamorgan pipped at post

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The Independent Online
Glamorgan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .236-6

Surrey. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .240-7

Surrey win by three wickets

SURREY maintained their flawless start to the season by squeezing past a Glamorgan side for whom the splendours of last summer are fast becoming a hazy memory.

Beneath the gas holders a year ago to the day, Surrey, at 212 for 1, were cruising to a Benson and Hedges Cup victory over Lancashire when the last nine wickets were cast overboard for 18 runs. Indeed, had Adrian Dale not spilled a simple return catch when Darren Bicknell had made 57 of his eventual 90 - three overs after Graham Thorpe's exit for 51 - queasiness might have beckoned once more.

As it was, the sea legs were anything but steady. Robert Croft promptly capped the contest's tightest spell by having David Ward stumped, only to drop Alistair Brown on the mid-wicket boundary soon afterwards. Brown made Glamorgan pay by clouting Dale for 4-4-6 before Ottis Gibson at long-on floored another stratospheric blow.

Steve Watkin flattened Brown's leg-stump with 35 wanted from seven overs, and although three further wickets fell before Andy Smith struck the winning boundary with two balls to spare, Glamorgan had spurned one chance too many.

Put in, they were fortunate that the Surrey bowlers failed to capitalise fully on a green-speckled pitch. Martin Bicknell overshadowed Cameron Cuffy in the early going, but Smith was the pick, his brisk off-breaks fettering the batsmen so effectively that 18 overs sped by without a boundary.

Hugh Morris clung on, expending 45 overs in acquiring his first 50 of the summer, while Gibson swatted 37 off 25 balls, including one six into Row K of the Bedser Stand. The feeling persisted, nevertheless, that Glamorgan were 20 runs short of solid ground.

Watkin ran out Alec Stewart in the third over, but Surrey's real wobbles were some way off. This time, happily, the lifeboat was at hand, even if Glamorgan were manning it.