Cricket: Crawley confirms his class

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Northamptonshire 330

Lancashire 190-4

JOHN CRAWLEY confirmed precisely why he is regarded as an imminent England contender by giving the Northamptonshire attack a rough ride yesterday and sustaining Lancashire in the process.

Crawley, who was awarded his county cap last Sunday, made a half-century from 151 balls on a rain-interrupted day which even tested the rug-and-anorak brigade. It was barely fit to turn out the groundsman's dog but the tearing wind did not deter Crawley or indeed, Phil Neale, Northamptonshire's director of cricket who, dressed in shorts, helped to put on the covers during four torrential downpours.

The pitch appeared to have lost much of its first-day zip and bounce. An alternative view, more valid, suggested that Curtly Ambrose was nowhere near as challenging as Wasim Akram and Peter Martin had been.

The West Indian was a frozen asset. Chilled by the temperature, he failed even to hint at his Test rhythm while Paul Taylor was more vigorous. Ambrose bowled 12 initial overs for 33 runs and, curiously, reserved his best delivery for Warren Hegg, the nightwatchman, who mis-hooked a venomous lifter to David Ripley, making his 200th first-class appearance for Northamptonshire.

After a three-hour rest, Ambrose returned and by then, Nick Cook had dismissed the worthy Jason Gallian, leg-before, playing for once across the line, and bowled Graham Lloyd, who was heaving to leg as if in the final overs of a 40-over game. Lloyd had already hoisted Cook over the square-leg stand.

The 22-year-old Crawley retained the poise which had guided him to two double-hundreds in the past six months.

He expanded his first-class run total towards 700 this season. Born in Maldon, Essex, a town famous for its salt, Crawley has shown indisputedly that he is worth his.

A maiden first-class century from Stuart Lampitt put Worcestershire in a commanding position against the champions, Middlesex, at Lord's yesterday. The 27-year- old all-rounder steered his side to a first innings total of 557 before Mike Gatting's beleaguered men reached 173 for 2 in reply. Lampitt was dropped at first slip by John Carr off Richard Johnson.

Surrey's hopes of making Glamorgan suffer were wrecked by rain at Swansea. For the second successive day the Championship leaders were denied by the weather after tea, with Glamorgan 57 for 2 from 26 overs in reply to Surrey's total of 429.

Richard Harden reached his first century of the season on a day ruined by rain at Taunton. Only 12 overs were bowled. The Somerset bat finished unbeaten on 103 as his side added 46 and closed on 332 for 3 against Hampshire.