Cricket: Richards looks for final exit at Lord's: Martin Johnson looks at the semi-final draw for the NatWest Trophy

Click to follow
HIS great pal Ian Botham recently said goodbye on a bleak and cheerless day in Durham, but for Vivian Richards a grander stage awaits for an old warrior's last hurrah. Richards has made no secret of his desire to bow out at Lord's, and by way of an added bonus, yesterday's NatWest Trophy semi-final draw threw up the prospect of him making his final curtain call against his old county, Somerset.

Glamorgan have been drawn to play Sussex at Hove, while Somerset, whose acrimonious sacking of Richards in 1986 was followed by a ceremonial burying of the hatchet when the county made him an honorary life member this summer, have a home tie at Taunton against Warwickshire.

Somerset last won this trophy in 1984 when Richards was in his pomp. However, mortality has now caught up with the greatest batsman of his generation, and it will be a 41-year-old with a sparse head of hair and a greying beard who walks out at Lord's on 4 September provided Glamorgan progress beyond only their second semi-final in the 30-year history of the 60-over competition.

Sussex, who last won the NatWest in the year Richards and Joel Garner were sacked, will represent a particularly tough obstacle. They have already seen off the 1991 and 1992 holders, Hampshire and Northamptonshire, and have a nicely balanced side for one-day cricket, captained by one of the best batsmen never to be capped by England, Alan Wells.

However, should Glamorgan and Somerset reach the final, it would also provide an appropriate stage for the Somerset captain, Chris Tavare. Never one to hog the headlines, unless it was for the sort of batting that rendered spectators comatose, Tavare not untypically announced his own retirement at the same time as Botham, which inevitably got a brief mention just above the dog results.

Tavare, one of the most astute captains, will have to get past Warwickshire who have reached the semi-finals for the past three years and who won the competition in 1989 when N M K Smith, son of M J K, settled the game with a final-over six off Simon Hughes, of Middlesex.

NATWEST TROPHY SEMI-FINAL DRAW: Sussex v Glamorgan (at Hove); Somerset v Warwickshire (at Taunton). Ties to be played 10 August.

Comments