Cricket / County Championship: Tufnell turns Glamorgan's hopes to dust

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The Independent Online
Glamorgan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .562-3 dec and 109

Middlesex . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .584 and 88-0

Middlesex win by 10 wickets

AS MAJOR spin-bowling performances go, Phil Tufnell's is unsurpassed in the County Championship this summer. His career-best 8 for 29 interrupted the game's insistent batting domination and cemented Middlesex to the top of the table, 30 points ahead of Surrey.

More than 1,000 runs had been scored for the loss of only eight wickets over the first three days but Tufnell ejected Glamorgan summarily and was deprived of all 10 by a run-out and John Emburey dismissing Steve Barwick, the last man. Middlesex triumphed with 13.2 overs to spare.

Glamorgan, second-placed and only 17 points behind the leaders when the final enactment began, batted abjectly, despite the persistent accuracy with which Tufnell harnessed a bone dry, wearing pitch. They tumbled to 109 all out, soon after Mike Gatting had shrewdly extended the Middlesex innings to gain a lead of 22, with Keith Brown scoring a worthy 88 not out from 110 balls.

Vivian Richards, a double century- maker in the previous innings, was out first ball to Tufnell, providing one of four catches at short leg for John Carr. Tony Cottey's first involvement in the match, apart from fielding, deep into the fourth day, was to prevent a hat-trick. He was soon run out by Gatting's swift flick to Brown.

Deep irony surrounded Glamorgan's defeat. Though sorely lacking Middlesex's spin resources, they had outplayed them in Sunday's game in front of a record 4,000 crowd but lost this time despite the apparent luxury of declaring at 562 for 3. Even four- day games do not necessarily produce an appropiate winner. Morally, this contest should have been drawn but Glamorgan's former players had their annual reunion blighted.

Where Tufnell goes from here depends on Ted Dexter and Co. Having been dropped by England, he confirmed an ability to transform a game supposedly one notch below Test level, although in reality, a few more.

Tufnell took the first five wickets before Cottey was run out. Later, it was 'dying' and then Embers, not just for Glamorgan because Emburey, wicket-less at that point, saw Desmond Haynes and Carr juggle a catch from Robert Croft unsuccessfully five times between them. Emburey laid flat on his back in disbelief.

Metaphorically, Glamorgan were on theirs later, especially after the record partnership in their 72-year history of 425 between Richards and Adrian Dale. When Alan Jones and Roy Fredericks set the previous best of 330 against Northamptonshire in 1972, Glamorgan lost that match, too.