Cricket: Dale at full stretch: Glamorgan prosper with fielders of dreams

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The Independent Online
Warwickshire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .163-8

Glamorgan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164-6

Glamorgan win by four wickets.

SHOULD Glamorgan win the Sunday League title for the first time, it could be attributed to flexible friends, such has been the athleticism of their fielding and their team spirit.

The best Glamorgan have managed was fifth in 1988 but, ably led by Hugh Morris, they have touched such heights in three competitions that former players, invariably the strictest of judges, are nodding approval.

Three consecutive catches in 12 overs by Adrian Dale, Roland Lefebvre and Vivian Richards were equivalent to a month's rations in some counties and foreshadowed a ninth victory in 12 games, which otherwise may have proved elusive.

The pitch, previously used for the three-day Australian tour match, was slow, obstinate and always ready to unseat the unwary. Dale, a half-century maker and Morris, who made 46, studiously avoided that category.

Dale also took the running, lunging catch at backward square-leg to dismiss Andy Moles. Lefebvre, thoroughly justifying his signing, crucially held Roger Twose at deep cover and Richards snatched a low return catch to oust Neil Smith.

These were marvellous moments. The county of golden daffodils now has golden arms. Glamorgan have been transformed from being exploited to becoming exploiters. They exposed Warwickshire's bowling attack, lacking Gladstone Small and Paul Smith, both resting, before struggling against Jason Ratcliffe, an occasional off-spinner, and Twose. They won with two overs to spare.

Lefebvre, economy personified, delivered 10 overs for 22 runs and dismissed both Warwickshire openers. Robert Croft found a nagging line and Dale confirmed his versatility. A high-order batsman, who can bowl seam of his quality, is a rare asset.

Dale has taken a hat-trick in the competition this summer and done most other things, apart from jump through a hoop. Ratcliffe almost had to do that when holding a high return catch to dislodge Dale.

It meant that Glamorgan still needed 14 from eight overs with five wickets intact. Andrew Jones swiftly departed leg-before on his debut, but Colin Metson cut the winning boundary to send the throngs home happy.