FINAL confrontations are all about fierce pride as well as nostalgia. Vivian Richards and Malcolm Marshall, West Indies Test compatriots for 13 years or so, rattled sabres at St Helen's yesterday at swansong time.
Both are departing, of their own volition, from the county game but the yachts bobbing with predictable certainty in the adjacent bay were far removed from the juddering motion of Richards' progress.
Before Glamorgan joined battle to avoid the follow-on, bolstered by an innings of 80 from Steve James, Richards produced boundaries with his first four scoring strokes. He lacked the strike as a 69-ball, 116-minute half century illustrated and was almost becalmed but still lofted Shaun Udal for six from the first ball after tea. Richards had weathered the latter part of a 10-over opening burst from Marshall, once being struck on the foot and sitting on the ground as a silent acknowledgement of pain and the quality of the delivery.
Darren Flint, as his name suggests, proved a hard man to cut as Richards was bowled while making the stroke, losing his bat as he aimed the blow. Marshall had guided Hampshire to a challenging total, albeit on a slow pitch, with his highest score for the county in three years, 75 not out from 119 balls with 12 fours.
Robert Croft, with 5 for 157, figures which are not immediately stunning, purveyed 62 overs of off-spin, a record for a Glamorgan bowler in any championship innings. Don Shepherd had sent down 57 against Derbyshire here 23 years ago. Croft gives the ball a generous loop, but his graduation process to the highest level from England A might involve pushing it through more often. On this surface, the tail kept him waiting for a last victim to complete six five-wicket performances this summer.
Hampshire had added 79 runs for the final two wickets in 100 minutes before lunch, which made a finer point when Hugh Morris was caught at mid-wicket off a long hop and Adrian Dale was leg-before. James and Richards put together 138 in 29 overs but Glamorgan lost two wickets at 180, still needing 88 to avoid the possibility of batting again.
Essex had to call up their acting captain, Paul Prichard, from his sick-bed at Bristol yesterday after losing half their batting for just 102 runs. Suffering from a viral infection, Prichard responded by going in at No 8 and staying for two hours, contributing 46 not out which saw off the threat of the follow on. Essex were all out for 216, which gave Gloucestershire a 104-run lead. The home county closed on 32 for 1.Reuse content