Cricket: Loye emerges from the twilight zone: Gough and Ilott guide tourists towards respectable lead after Northamptonshire batsman displays his class

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Western Province 177; England A 321

MALACHY LOYE'S entry in the South African equivalent of Wisden reads 'Almost nothing is known of Loye.' No longer - they now know he is a keen, if unorthodox, hooker, possesses an even temperament and has luck on his side.

Aided by two dropped chances, Loye made 68 yesterday which, with Adrian Dale's more compact 64, enabled England A to gain a 144-run first-innings lead over Western Province. The pair batted with great concentration to add a telling 112 runs for the fifth wicket after the in-form pair of Alan Wells and John Crawley had been dismissed before midday. Neither Loye nor Dale had previously reached 50 on tour, and their success underlined the depth of Hugh Morris's side.

The same annual credits Morris as 'earning undying infamy and probably his exclusion from the Test side' for his biplane trip with Robin Smith during England's last Australian tour. Given this new evidence, John Morris and David Gower may consider an appeal.

The undemonstrative 21-year-old Loye is, to be fair, hardly well known outside Northamptonshire. He blossomed late last season after the county showed faith and patience in his ability. Having now made runs and settled into touring life, he may repay England the same way.

Though Loye batted for 62 overs, he was prepared to attack and frequently played an unusual hook shot in which he smashes the ball like a tennis player. He was fortunate when dropped at 18 by Adrian Kuiper at first slip off Eric Simons, and was badly missed at square leg seven runs later.

Dale also had an escape, when he was missed at second slip off Pringle on 19, but went on to confirm the early impression that he is a very useful all-round cricketer. But, with England 273 for 5 and set for a 200-run lead, he precipitated a collapse by driving airily at the seemingly innocuous Alan Dawson.

The medium-pacer must have been more dangerous than he looked (not a difficult achievement) for the wicket was the first of four in 23 balls for four runs, and he ended with a career-best 5 for 42.

This followed being hit for nine in his first over by Crawley, a start that would have unsettled many inexperienced bowlers. Dawson, a horticulturalist, has himself turned into an all-rounder after failing last season as an opening bat - he made 2, 0, 4, 0 in his four Castle Cup innings.

After Wells had edged a leg-cutter from the promising left-armer, Aubrey Martyn, Dawson dismissed Crawley off an inexplicable lob to short midwicket. Three hours later his captain, Simons, produced the day's best ball, a lifter, to dismiss Loye and then Dawson struck, bowling Dale and Robert Croft in successive balls.

Steve Rhodes was leg before to a straight one, Dominic Cork chipped to midwicket and England were suddenly nine down and just 115 ahead. But Darren Gough and Mark Ilott, with sensible batting, added 29 before Gough missed a cut at the slow left-armer, Dean MacHelm, off what became the last ball of the day.

The lead should be enough to secure England's eighth, and best, win. Western Province, though missing the Test players Brian McMillan, Gary Kirsten and Craig Matthews, are an in-form side with several fine players and England have had to play well to reach this position. The most encouraging thing about the tour so far is the ability, rarely shown at Test level in recent years, to consolidate good positions while batting and to make things happen when bowling. They have played very maturely.

(Second day of four: Western Province won toss)

WESTERN PROVINCE - First Innings 177 (D Jordaan 65).

ENGLAND A - First Innings

(Overnight: 74 for 2)

J P Crawley c Kuiper b Dawson. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51

A P Wells c Ryall b Martyn. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

M B Loye c Ryall b Simons. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .68

A Dale b Dawson. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .64

S J Rhodes lbw b Dawson. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21

R D B Croft b Dawson. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

D G Cork c Koenig b Dawson. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

D Gough b MacHelm. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12

M C Ilott not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18

Extras (b1 lb6 w1 nb12). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20

Total. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 321

Fall: 1-9 2-37 3-94 4-116 5-228 6-273 7-273 8-2769-292.

Bowling: Pringle 23-2-57-0; Martyn 24-5-81-2; Simons 23-5-53-2; Dawson 18-6-42-5; MacHelm 17.1-7-39-1; Kuiper 14-2-40-0; Best 2-0-2-0.

Umpires: C Mitchley and R Brooks.

Comments