Cricket: Nerves suffer in epic chase

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The Independent Online
Warwickshire 125 and 248

Glamorgan 236 and 138-8

Glamorgan win by two wickets

HAVING deemed the rag trade 'too competitive', Viv Richards has expressed an interest in entering the fishing business when he retires in September. If he really is seeking the quiet life, however, he would have been well advised to give Sophia Gardens a wide berth yesterday.

On a grassy pitch whose apparently patriotic demons made themselves scarce for Harry Brind's inspection on Friday, Glamorgan's route to the 138 required for victory was riddled with landmines. So much so, that David Hemp was hastily summoned from his sick bed in Swansea as deliveries kicked and wickets clattered.

The initial exchanges were deceptive. Hugh Morris and Steve James set off like the clappers and by the fifth over the target had been reduced by 24, whereupon Morris top-edged Gladstone Small into his helmet with a fearful crack.

A delay for treatment and a swap of headgear preceded the next ball and the advent of Paul Smith in the following over saw Small swoop athletically at point to intercept James' swingeing cut. Small then drew Adrian Dale into a rash uppercut and Keith Piper pouched the resulting edge.

Smith, making light of a pinched nerve in his left elbow, generated no end of fire and bounce. Richards swatted him through midwicket but an arrogant hook next ball found long- leg. Tony Cottey followed suit in Smith's next over, leaving Glamorgan a glum 53 for 4 in the 12th over.

Morris continued to suffer, Small hitting him on the left elbow, Smith in the chest. Since collecting a century in each innings against Nottinghamshire six weeks ago, the captain had failed to reach 50 in the Championship yet his grit and cussedness here compensated amply for an inability to relocate the middle of the bat.

Robert Croft underlined his all- round potential in the first innings with a top score of 54 and he now helped Morris with a critical 28 before slicing to slip, Paul Booth thus becoming the first spinner in the match to take a wicket. Colin Metson somehow survived to lunch then nicked Smith to Piper from the afternoon's first offering.

Dermot Reeve posted himself close enough to Roland Lefebvre to be showered in sweat and the nerves jangled all the more when Small cracked Morris on the other elbow. Back scampered the physio but Morris held firm and clattered Small through the covers two balls later to reach a 50 of Horatian proportions. The end, sadly, was ignominious, a tame return catch to Booth with 22 needed. After this, a winter in the Caribbean should be a picnic.

Hemp, a tonsillitis victim, now emerged with a runner. Piper dislocated a finger and handed the gloves to Reeve, who promptly conceded four byes, though not before Hemp had snicked Small to slip. A wide from Michael Bell brought the scores level and at last Lefebvre pushed the winning single. As confirmation of the Glamorgan revival one could scarcely ask for more.