Cricket / NatWest Trophy Semi-Finals: Sussex prevail as Wells quells the Welsh fire: Lord's prayer for Richards is denied as Ostler's devotion to duty inspires Warwickshire's ragged staff

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Glamorgan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .220

Sussex . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .224-7

Sussex win by 3 wickets

IN three decades of domestic knockout cricket, the Welsh dragon has barely breathed enough fire to make a round of toast, but just when Glamorgan seemed certain to double their total of one appearance in 53 previous Lord's Cup finals, Sussex steamed up on the rails to ruin Vivian Richards' planned farewell party with an improbable three-wicket victory.

Until the last hour and a half of this match, you would have placed your mortgage on Lord's reverberating to choruses of Bread of Heaven amidst the 'Ere We Go and La La La brigade on 4 September. Sussex, having cobbled together 90 for 5 from their first 40 overs, required another 131 from their final 20, but thanks to a brilliant unbeaten century from their captain Alan Wells, they got them with four balls to spare.

Richards, whose last two Lord's finals were both in 1983 (for Somerset in this competition, and the West Indies in the World Cup) was on a flight home to Antigua today to attend his father's funeral, and although he will be back, it will not be for the emotional farewell he had promised himself at the start of the season. As for Wells, he remains one of the classiest batsmen in the country never to have played Test cricket, and he, like Richards, may also be on a flight to Antigua in the not too distant future. That is where England begin their winter tour, and if it is gutsy players of fast bowling they are looking for, Wells ought to be guaranteed a seat.

This was not a pitch for fluent strokeplay - slow and variable of bounce - and Glamorgan's apparently inadequate total was never going to be a straightfoward operation. Even so, Sussex's crawl to 44 for 3 from 27 overs by tea seemed to be taking things a bit far, even allowing for miserly seam bowling from Steve Watkin and Roland Lefebvre, and Glamorgan fielding that scarcely dipped below the brilliant.

Watkin took 2 for 7 in his opening spell, one of them via a breathtaking catch in the deep from Lefebvre. Bill Athey scratched out 17 runs from 86 balls before he was third out, and when Sussex plummeted to 110 for 6 from 44 overs, it was all over bar the shouting. Or, in Glamorgan's case, the singing.

However, Wells was then joined by Neil Lenham, and these two put on 107 in 15 overs for the seventh wicket. They improvised so well that whenever Glamorgan moved a fielder, that is where the next boundary went, and Richards, having spent most of the innings as visibly pumped up as in any match he has played, was summarily deflated by conceding 25 runs off his three overs.

Wells, whose footwork to both the seamers and spinners made him almost impossible to bowl at, went on to make 106 off 131 deliveries, including one six and eight fours. He lost Lenham near the end, but by then Sussex were as good as home, and the man of the match award safely in Wells's pocket.

Glamorgan's innings was built almost entirely around Matthew Maynard, but unlike Wells with Lenham, no one kept him company long enough for his 84 (112 balls, one six, six fours). Richards threatened briefly, making 22 in a fourth-wicket stand of 53 in 12 overs with Maynard, before getting a leading edge back to the off-spinner, Keith Greenfield. Not the sort of day that Richards, or the game's romantics, had in mind at all.

HOVE SCOREBOARD

(Glamorgan won toss)

GLAMORGAN

S P James lbw b Lenham . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31

* H Morris b Pigott . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21

A Dale c Smith b Pigott . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

M P Maynard c Wells b Stephenson . . . . . . . . . . . . 84

I V A Richards c and b Greenfield . . . . . . . . . . . .22

P A Cottey b Greenfield . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

R D B Croft b Salisbury . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20

] C P Metson c Wells b Stephenson . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

R P Lefebvre not out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8

S L Watkin b Stephenson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

S R Barwick b Pigott . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

Extras (lb15 w6) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21

Total (60 overs) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .220

Fall: 1-54 2-56 3-71 4-124 5-138 6-195 7-204 8-208 9-216.

Bowling: Stephenson 12-1-25-3; Giddins

12-2-46-0; Lenham 7-0-31-1; Pigott 9-1-23-3;

Salisbury 11-1-45-1; Greenfield 9-1-35-2.

SUSSEX

D M Smith b Watkin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8

C W J Athey c Maynard b Dale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

M P Speight c Lefebvre b Watkin . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0

* A P Wells not out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106

K Greenfield run out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

F D Stephenson c Cottey b Watkin . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

] P Moores c Richards b Dale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8

N J Lenham b Lefebvre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47

I D K Salisbury not out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

Extras (lb4 w4 nb2) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

Total (for 7, 59.2 overs) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 224

Fall: 1-12 2-12 3-42 4-47 5-86 6-110 7-217.

Did not bat: A C S Pigott, E S H Giddens.

Bowling: Watkin 12-2-43-3; Lefebvre 12-4-24-1; Barwick 11.2-1-33-0; Dale 12-3-43-2; Croft 9-0-52-0; Richards 3-0-25-0.

Man of the match: A P Wells.

Umpires: J C Balderstone and K E Palmer.

(Photograph omitted)

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