Cricket: Thomas limits rash Worcestershire

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The Independent Online
Worcestershire. . . . . .267 and 247

Glamorgan . . . . . . . .184

ALTHOUGH batsmen have found run-scoring a struggle here, yesterday's interesting third day has left this game poised for an intriguing last day tomorrow. Third-placed Glamorgan need to win to stay in touch with Championship leaders Middlesex, and will be looking for the sun to shine as well as their star batsmen. It has looked a different game when it goes behind the clouds.

Certainly Worcestershire's early batsmen, Tim Curtis apart, did not play with a conviction suggesting permanence was possible in a morning session delayed by 45 minutes after early rain. That Glamorgan face a fourth-innings target in excess of 300 owed much to Curtis's second 45 of the match and three hours of staunch defiance from Phil Newport. Steve Rhodes chipped in with useful runs, and at the end of the day Richard Illingworth and Neal Radford showed up the upper order with the only half-century stand of the innings.

Martin Weston never survived young Darren Thomas's opening over, while Graeme Hick and Stuart Lampitt were driving without due care when helping Colin Metson towards the record number of dismissals in a match by a Glamorgan wicketkeeper. Metson's ninth catch, to send back Philip Weston off Robert Croft, not only took him past Eiffion Jones but gave the England selectors a nudge they will undoubtedly ignore.

The beneficiary of Worcestershire's indeterminate batting was the 18-year-old Llanelli schoolboy, Thomas, playing his first game of the summer. Stockily built and bowling a brisk fast-medium pace, he moved the ball both ways and managed to slide it on and up from just short of a length. Batsmen will think twice about pushing forward with impunity, and it was noticeable that Curtis looked at the youngster with respect, rather than at the pitch with suspicion, when Thomas rapped him on the gloves.

Last year Thomas headed the Glamorgan averages with 18 wickets at 22, including a five-wicket return on his Championship debut at Chesterfield. With an average strike rate of a wicket every six overs, he gives every impression of having the golden arm which England obviously need.

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