Cricket: Metson's true grit

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Glamorgan. . . . 165 and 212

Northamptonshire. . . . .217

IT WAS a good thing Tony Clement, Richard Webster and Robert Jones were being lionised in the bar at St Helen's yesterday lunchtime. Trapped at the bottom of a ruck with scant chance of seeing daylight again in this particular contest, the flannelled fools were running a poor second to the local muddied oafs.

Glamorgan's enterprising start to the season has been chiefly attributable to the form of their batsmen, but with Matthew Maynard and Tony Cottey both injured they have struggled without respite here. Still, on a green pitch that treated batsmen with contempt over the first two days, the feat of setting Northamptonshire a target as steep as 161 was a notable achievement against such a proficient seam attack.

The main credit for this went to Colin Metson. Mention of the former Middlesex wicketkeeper normally inspires a torrent of superlatives tempered by regret that the bat lacks the breadth and agility of the gloves.

The 27 overs he gritted out in compiling a resolute 25 against Curtly Ambrose and Paul Taylor suggested a man who possesses the wherewithal to make amends.

Metson and Roland Lefebvre established the highest home stand of the match in adding 45 for the seventh wicket, a worthy effort that, together with an hour's delay for rain, enabled Glamorgan to reach the afternoon session unscathed. Tony Penberthy then restored order in an inventive spell of swing, making one pop to have Lefebvre held at short leg, then drawing Metson into a fierce cut that Rob Bailey somehow intercepted at full stretch just in front of point to give the Cornishman his seventh wicket of the match.

Steve Barwick and Mark Frost drove merrily in a last-wicket stand of 22, but by now the visitors were looking more fearfully at the slate-grey skies, which had sufficient bias to empty their contents before the chase could start.