Cricket: Cottey stays on a high

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Glamorgan 295 and 360-9 dec

Leicestershire 244 and 63-4

IT WAS a day of role reversal at Sophia Gardens. Glamorgan, with such honorable exceptions as David Hemp, who was awarded his county cap at lunch, and tiny Tony Cottey, averaging over 50, have been

under-achievers this season, and are propping up the County Championship table entirely on merit.

And yet yesterday they batted with ease and, in the case of Robert Croft, exhilaration to take their lead beyond 400. Cocky Leicestershire, no doubt disappointed by Warwickshire's success at Hove but still in second place with a game in hand, permutated seam and spin on a dusty, brown wicket but without success, accepting wickets as consolation prizes.

The day began nicely poised, Glamorgan 118 ahead with seven wickets in hand, but stil perfectly capable of being hammered out by lunch. David Millns bowled with fire, while spinner Adrian Pierson tried to exploit any overnight moisture in the wicket. Hemp's diligent 50 and a stand between Cottey and nightwatchman Colin Metson, whose aggregate height is little more than that of the average West Indian fast bowler, frustrated them.

The good work was continued by Ottis Gibson and Gary Butcher, who made the best score of an embryonic career, before Croft's afternoon onslaught. He was particularly hard on left-arm spinner Matthew Brimson, at one stage taking 18 from four balls, and turned consolidation into declaration.

A storm that cost 45 minutes' play helped Hugh Morris make up his mind, and he let Gibson and Steve Watkin loose with a minimum of 15 overs to bowl. But it was the bustling Adrian Dale who broke through when Phil Simmons top edged to extra cover. The batsman stood his ground and was fortunate that Peter Burge was not on the ground.

At the other end Gibson was bowling with late season venom, and the ball that spooned off Tim Boon's bat was simply too quick to react to. Nigel Briers and James Whitaker soon followed.