Cricket: Snape shows resolve in the rain - Nat-West Trophy

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The Independent Online
Warwickshire 149; Northants 152-7

Northamptonshire win by 3 wkts

JEREMY SNAPE, 19, a little off- spinner who can bat, who has played for England Under-19 and who, being born in Stoke, has skill and resolution, became the unlikely hero of Northamptonshire's semi-final victory on the stroke of a rainy lunchtime.

Snape, a Denstone College boy, had played only in a Sunday League match before this memorable moment in his young career. He had not bowled in Warwickshire's innings on Wednesday and he only appeared as a batsmen yesterday after the Cobblers had, you might say, made a cobblers of scoring the further 103 they needed to win yesterday morning, with eight wickets and 37 overs in hand.

The left-handed Nigel Felton, 24 overnight, was obdurate enough and with Allan Lamb, on eight, they seemed the pair most likely to complete the victory, unless Donald, Small, Munton or Reeve, managed a fast breakthrough.

The first surprise, before the cloud blew in, was that Andy Lloyd preferred to keep Allan Donald's six remaining overs up his sleeve and the initial attempt at dislodging Lamb was made by Dermot Reeve and Roger Twose. Lamb should have been caught at square leg, off Twose, when 16.

The score had been almost doubled, in 13 overs, when Gladstone Small gave Warwickshire their first hope: Lamb went back to square drive a ball that was too close to him and may have bounced a little lower; at all events he was caught behind.

Felton and David Capel took the score to within 42 of the target, with 14 overs left, when a cumulative madness suddenly overtook the innings: the patient Felton, rightly man of the match, took a huge swipe at Neil Smith and was caught at mid-off off the thinnest of top edges.

Kevin Curran looked determined to end this nonsense and hit 14 in two overs before, he, too, went swinging and gave square leg a gentle catch: 27 needed, five wickets standing, 12 overs left.

David Capel and Tony Penberthy then reached the brink of victory, umbrellas were unfurled and back came Donald for his final burst: seven needed off nine overs. Penberthy perished lbw, Capel mistimed his drive and David Ripley and young Snape found themselves still needing seven for glory, three wickets and 48 balls left.

With three runs needed, Snape played out a maiden to Smith (one wide); Tim Munton bowled a maiden to Ripley; it rained enough for every spectator to seek cover.

In Smith's next over, Munton, the only slip, should have caught Snape but failed to hold the ball; the next was lifted cleanly over mid-on for the winning boundary.