KEITH FLETCHER has been at Leicester these past two days. On Thursday, he witnessed the ideal formula for England to avoid losing Tests (thunder, lightning and hailstones) and yesterday he watched Matthew Maynard plundering runs off moderate bowling. In other words, he learned nothing he did not know already.
Glamorgan are having a serious dart at the County Championship this summer, a competition they last won when the Americans just pipped them for the most eyebrow-raising achievement of 1969 by landing a man on the moon. On that occasion, the Stars and Stripes were planted on only a marginally more pockmarked and desolate landscape than the Grace Road square, which is why, despite the loss of almost a full day's play, Glamorgan will consider themselves handily placed this morning with maximum batting points and a couple of cheap Leicestershire wickets in the bag.
Leicestershire currently represent handy opposition for teams with designs on a trophy. Nigel Briers, the captain, is out injured for the rest of the season, Laurie Potter is dropped and on the transfer list, Winston Benjamin has been paid off early, and Alan Mullally, one of the reasons for Fletcher's visit, is injured.
David Millns has just returned from injury, and after taking 2 for 14 from his six overs on Thursday, his lack of fitness showed yesterday when his next six brought him 0 for 48. This was largely because he had the misfortune to be bowling to Maynard in one of his January sales moods - everything must go - and Maynard's brilliant 82 from 87 balls (14 fours) illuminated a day of graft and grind.
The pitch, untrustworthy in bounce and offering help for the spinners, will not get any better, and Tony Cottey's more prosaic innings of 105 was just as valuable as Maynard's in the Glamorgan scheme of things. David Hemp, deputising in Viv Richards' temporary absence, made a limpet- like 62, and he and Cottey put on 169 for the fifth wicket.
Glamorgan still hope to win the Sunday league as well as the Championship, and after losing their NatWest semi-final there will be a few tears shed in the Principality if they end up with nothing. Whatever happens, they now have a decent team, a membership of 10,500 and the old jokes have all but died a death.