LANCASHIRE scored 235 runs in 12 overs yesterday, Glen Chapple hitting 100 in 21 minutes, technically the fastest century in history but one that will only revive the argument about contrived declarations. The Test and County Cricket Board will face a clamour from the traditionalists to seek a change in the first-class regulations, if not in the Laws.
A wet outfield prevented play until 1.40pm when Glamorgan declared, seven runs behind, and Lancashire sent out the tail-enders, Chapple and Alex Barnett, to face Matthew Maynard and Tony Cottey. Maynard distorted the equation by bowling Barnett but Gary Yates and Chapple then made all previous third-day circuses look respectable.
In five overs 125 runs were scored as Glamorgan, soon impatient at the run-rate, discarded all attempts to let the ball bounce and put up full tosses. Fielders watched the ball cross the boundary rope at their feet while Viv Richards, seemingly getting his foot to one drive, contrived to turn it toward the boundary a la Ray Wilkins.
Chapple hit 50 off 16 balls and at one point he had hit eight sixes off 10 deliveries. The 100 arrived off 27 balls, with 10 fours and nine sixes, while Yates, who has scored two legitimate first-class centuries, hit 20 boundaries in 98 scored off 37 balls.
Then the fun started. Chapple had obviously passed the previous 'contrived' fastest century, by Tom Moody, in 26 minutes for Warwickshire against Glamorgan in 1990, but by how much?
'There is no official time,' Lancashire's scorer, Bill Davis, said. He was working the computer, and added: 'We have to go through several processes in recording a no-ball (there were 20) and at this rate of scoring we simply couldn't keep up.' Byron Denning, Glamorgan's scorer, reverted to his pen, and said: 'I had no time to time Chapple's 100.' The BBC Wales scorer, book and pen, recorded 21 minutes.
All this was in contrast to Steve O'Shaughnessy's 35- minute 100 against Leicestershire on this ground in 1983 when the scorers were able to confirm that Percy's Fender's record in 1920 had been equalled within a few minutes. There was a difference: David Gower and James Whitaker did make some pretence of bowling properly.
Lancashire were involved in another scoring incident last week when their second team, at Todmorden, set up a target for Yorkshire's 2nd XI by bowling 18 no-balls (which now count two runs) to the boundary. Purists will say these attempts to seek a result are making a mockery of first-class cricket but they are within the current laws and simply reflect modern pressures to force a result.
Cottey failed to further his claims to bowl for England: his six overs cost 121.
Glamorgan were set 243 in 52 overs and cruised to their second victory in two days, by seven wickets with five overs to spare, Adrian Dale hitting a polished 95 and Richards, with some resplendent blows, leaving this field a victor for the last time. It has been a sackcloth and ashes weekend here, with hot water possibly to come.Reuse content