Cricket / County Championship: French assault ends in tears

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The Independent Online
Glamorgan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .334-8 dec and 12-0 dec

Nottinghamshire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17-0 dec and 322

Glamorgan win by seven runs

THERE WERE three balls remaining, three lights illuminating the scoreboard, one wicket left and eight runs needed when Paul Johnson, his broken left hand in plaster, walked to the middle yesterday. With one hand behind his back, he attempted to finish off what his more able-bodied Nottinghamshire colleagues might well have settled much earlier.

Johnson walked down the pitch to his first ball from Steve Barwick and seemed a long way from home when he missed with his attempted flick and was adjudged leg-before, giving Glamorgan a seven-run win after they had taken seven wickets in the last 17 overs.

Nottinghamshire had needed 330 from what turned out to be 100 overs. On a pitch where it was not easy to bowl out a side not taking risks, Glamorgan's best chance of victory lay in keeping them interested, though you would not have thought so when they blatantly tried to slow the game down just before tea.

It is gratifying to report that umpire Ray Julian stepped in to have a quiet but effective word with their captain, Matthew Maynard, and all was subsequently serene, except for Nottinghamshire, whose early batting betrayed their concern about Johnson's injury, the problems of forcing the pace on this pitch and individual worries about overcoming recent lack of form and injuries.

All too often, as well, they had to solve the problem of preserving wickets while trying to maintain a decent tempo and after Paul Pollard had fallen to a ball that stopped, after reaching a season's- best 75, which says a lot, it was as well that Mark Crawley played such an effective anchor role for some three hours.

With Derek Randall, he took Nottinghamshire into the last hour needing 133. But Randall hooked Steve Watkin to one of the two deep square legs awaiting the stroke and Crawley himself, having started to improvise well, was clearly dismayed when he was caught and bowled by Robert Croft from one which the young off-spinner may have held back a shade.

When Chris Cairns was run out by an adroit piece of work by Colin Metson, who shovelled a poor throw on to the stumps (this did much to atone for two missed stumpings) that might have been that but for a quite brilliant vignette from wicketkeeper Bruce French.

He made 55 from 39 balls, mostly with crisp orthodox strokes. This put Nottinghamshire back in the game and if Eddie Hemmings had not perished to a leg-side smear at a time when a single would have sufficed, Johnson's brave but vain appearance might not have been necessary.

(Photograph omitted)