Cricket: Glamorgan the latest unlikely lads

Adam Szreter gives his half-term report on the County Championship
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The Independent Online
Derbyshire

Bottom of the heap after a return to bad old ways following last year's second prize. Too busy arguing among themselves. Captain Dean Jones cleared off, coach Les Stillman sent to Coventry, presumably to watch Warwickshire second XI.

Durham Pulled off the result of the season so far, beating Kent. Hitherto introverted nature has blossomed under beer-guzzling influence of Tasmanian David Boon, giving rise to regular chorus of "Let it Rain" in the dressing room, followed by copious air guitar.

Essex

Surprise defeat by Somerset spoiled good early work, but still second in the table and return to early Nineties heyday not inconceivable. Cowan an inspiration with the ball, Stuart Law with the bat, but Gooch seems to have his mind on other things.

Glamorgan

Top of the class after victory over Gloucestershire with youngsters Thomas and Cosker in the wickets again. Beginning to pose a formidable threat, but need to avoid being bowled out for 31 too often if they want to win the title.

Gloucestershire

Unable to sustain early pace and in danger of falling by the wayside. Country's leading wicket-taker Smith penalised for exciting too many cricket writers and ordered to report to Old Trafford last week, thus missing Glamorgan match.

Hampshire

Somehow managed to win two games despite having no bowlers. Over-dependent on Hayden's batting (leading first-class run-scorer). Malcolm Marshall back as coach for the second half of the season, but unfortunately not as a player.

Kent

One moment the best side in the country, the next they lose to Durham or, as on Saturday, Northamptonshire. With Igglesden back from the knacker's yard they have class bowlers coming out of their ears. Might make a mess of Surrey at Lord's in Benson and Hedges final.

Lancashire

Finally beginning to do justice to their talent with Saturday's second successive win, against Middlesex. Martin, 13 wickets in the match, may just have woken up in time for the fourth Test but Watkinson and Wasim are still chilling out on treatment table.

Leicestershire

County champions last year, draw specialists this and attempting to become first side to successfully defend title on bonus points alone. Not much luck with the weather, but they remain the only undefeated team in the country.

Middlesex

Good recovery from defeat by Ireland and the abdication of Mike "Henry VIII" Gatting. Ramprakash responding well to captaincy, but Hewitt already in danger of following in the footsteps of Yorkshire's Silverwood as Young Cricketer of the Year.

Northamptonshire

Four off the last ball by Snape at Maidstone on Saturday took them off the bottom for the first time this season, but they would be well advised not to overdo the celebrations. Strange reluctance to play 19-year-old Sales, double centurion on debut last season.

Nottinghamshire

Staggeringly dismal five batting points betrays promise of three wins in first six matches. Making steady downward progress but teenagers Afzaal and Franks look to have bright futures.

Somerset

Mixed fortunes, but resounding victories over Lancashire and, most recently, Essex have kept them in contention. Dermot Reeve's attempt to turn cider into Calvados still lacks vital ingredient, but Mushtaq could provide it in the coming weeks.

Surrey

First win over Nottinghamshire followed by an avoidable defeat at Edgbaston. On paper the strongest team in the country, just not much good at the four-day stuff. Hollioake needs to get a grip if he fancies captaining England one day.

Sussex

No more popular opponent this season: no wins, no batting but, astonishingly, more bowling points then anyone else. Recent form would seem to confirm that putting a journalist in charge of anything other than a lap-top is never a wise move.

Warwickshire

Ten wickets for Donald against Surrey was a blast from the season before last, but without Reeve and Munton the former champions have lacked direction, while the batting is as frail as ever. A little less extra-curricular activity called for, especially behind the stumps.

Worcestershire

Pre-eminence of the late Eighties seems a long time ago. While Curtis, Hick, Moody and Newport soldier on, the local law firm of Solanki, Spiring and Sheriyar (10 wickets in the victory over Sussex) could be just what is needed at New Road.

Yorkshire

The Tykes have tailed off yet again after good wins over Essex and Somerset. They currently stand 10th, which is precisely where they have stood, on average, ever since their last title in 1968. Chronic inertia of this kind can lead to acute paranoia.

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