AFTER spirited hard work, Glamorgan were denied a Sussex follow-on by equally determined batting on a dark evening, and so the Welsh county's most promising route to their first Championship win of the season was blocked.
Keith Greenfield and Peter Moores, working sensibly on a blameless pitch, took Sussex beyond danger and into the realm of mathematics, where skippers Hugh Morris and Alan Wells must juggle targets and risks.
Wells set the deal in motion by declaring 132 behind, at which point a fourth and then fifth bulb sprang to life on the scoreboard lightmeter. Yet Glamorgan's second innings got under way in the gloaming, against the gentle night-time pace of Wells and Bill Athey.
In common with many matches around the soggy shires, this was at best a three- day game by the time Stephen James of Glamorgan took guard on Friday. Wells had asked the visitors to bat in the hope of early spite from the Sussex slope, but the pitch slumbered and Glamorgan sailed to maximum batting points at the cost of three wickets. Fluent centuries by Morris and Adrian Dale were the backbone of an innings that continued for 11 overs into yesterday.
When Athey and Jamie Hall began the Sussex quest for 283 at midday, Morris had the luxury of giving everyone a bowl as he strove to stress his advantage. Steve Bastien and Steve Watkin gave nothing away and the Barbadian Ottis Gibson punched in a rib-high spell down the hill, but his venom was negated by a flurry of no- balls. It was the bustling Dale, however, who made the first dent when Athey snicked within scent of lunch, by which time the off-spinner Robert Croft had also taken a twirl.
The afternoon belonged to the veteran left-hander David Smith. He can still show the belligerence that earned him a bruising taste of international cricket against the West Indies in the mid-80s, but yesterday he concentrated on scratching Sussex towards their target.
The valued wickets of Wells and a careless Martin Speight, followed at 197 by Smith, warmed Glamorgan's frozen fingers, before Greenfield and Moores steered the Sussex ship to 300. At close the five scoreboard lights, and the safety-first bowlers, were still on, and Morris will be left with a tricky declaration decision around lunchtime on Monday.