Cricket: Gibson gives his best for Glamorgan: Spinner's wings clipped

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Glamorgan 361

New Zealand 18-0

HAVING been grounded by England, the Kiwis looked as if they were about to take off in Wales when they had Glamorgan struggling at four down for 73. The men really flying, though, were Hugh Morris and Ottis Gibson, two batsmen who went about mounting a rescue on a slow, dry turner in contrasting styles.

Dry? Well, the St Helen's pitch may have received more than its fair share of rain during the past few days but the wind has been blowing. Yesterday, the sun shone, too, and the dust was a devil.

As for finding themselves in a devilish situation, Morris reckoned there was no excuse against this New Zealand attack, the former Aberavon fly-half leading by example in the wide-open spaces of the famous rugby ground. He made 84, but the up-and-unders in the bat-throwing department were provided by Gibson.

The Bajan all-rounder, brought in as Glamorgan's overseas replacement for Viv Richards, surpassed all his previous bests. He had made a double helping of 61 against Warwickshire and Oxford University for the county, while his first-class career best had stood at 83, made out of a Border total of 160 against Transvaal.

Morris and the Glamorgan coach, Alan Jones, had cast an eye over Gibson in the Caribbean and liked what they saw. But the newcomer has had a hard act to follow. Glamorgan languish at the foot of the championship table, while Gibson, before this game, had come up with only 11 first-class wickets at a cost of more than 500 runs.

Making runs, though, yesterday proved no problems for him. His 85 off 116 balls was laced with 13 boundaries that included four sixes. Together with Robert Croft and Colin Metson, he helped raise 77 for the seventh wicket and 76 for the eighth before falling leg- before to Chris Pringle.

The seamer, Pringle, finished with a respectable 5 for 58. Matthew Hart collected three wickets but his slow left-armers cost the New Zealanders 133 runs in a day of mixed fortunes that saw Heath Davis start the second over with three successive wides.

Morris dispatched the unfortunate Davis's fourth ball for four and he and Andrew Roseberry, who made a career best 45, put on 97 for the fifth wicket. As for catches, five ended up in the keeper's gloves shared by Bryan Young and Adam Parore, who was off the field earlier having treatment for a back injury.