Cricket: Twose in company

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Warwicks 302; 203-2

Glamorgan 298; 207

Warwicks won by 8 wkts

A DOGGED but determined 277 not out by the Warwickshire opener Roger Twose - the second highest score ever by a Warwickshire player - saw his side to a commanding position on the third day of this championship encounter at Edgbaston.

In only his second Championship hundred for the county (the previous one was also a double century) he was - inevitably after Brian Lara's knock on Friday - the stodge that followed the cream. His innings lasted six minutes over 10 hours, setting a new record for the county.

With the captain Dermot Reeve declaring at 657 for seven, Warwickshire equalled their highest score in the championship, a record that has stood since 1899. Glamorgan conceded the highest amount of runs in their history, the previous record being 653 against Gloucestershire in 1928.

Resuming at 322 for two, Warwickshire needed a lead of 200 in as short a time as possible if they were to put Glamorgan under any kind of pressure. On a slow pitch that was showing occasional and alarming fickleness of bounce, that was never going to be easy, and only 112 runs were added in the morning session.

Close to half were scored by the 26-year-old Twose, a robust left-hander who seemed content to keep up a slow but persistent pace. In between the studious blocking, he connected sweetly when given enough width - Adrian Dale, in particular, was guilty in feeding this strength. With Asif Din, he put on 107 for the third wicket until Din waltzed down the pitch to the off-spinner Robert Croft and was stumped missing an on-side heave, a stroke born more out of frustration on the part of the batsman than by canny deception by the bowler.

That brought in the captain, Reeve, whose effervescent personality on a cricket pitch usually manages to wind the opposition up much as Javed Miandad did for Pakistan. Immediately he reverse-swept the persevering Croft, and, with some neat deflections on both sides of the wicket he brought much-needed urgency to the Warwickshire batting.

Reeve's lbw dismissal in the first over after lunch brought in Paul Smith, who came out fighting after surviving a close call for lbw off his first ball from Ottis Gibson, Glamorgan's overseas player from Barbados. Most counties are looking for their overseas players to fulfil three main roles: first, they hope that the player will generate an increased interest among the public and the club will benefit from larger crowds. So far Lara has accomplished this for Warwickshire, who in a season where the club will not host any of this summer's six Test matches, has already increased its membership by more than 500 on last year's Ashes peak of 7,000.

The second criterion is that the player performs well for the club. There is no doubt that Lara is currently the finest batsman in world cricket, and should send cricket lovers all round England into paroxysms of delight this summer. Ottis Gibson, on the other hand, is relatively green and his reputation as an all-rounder is one of strong potential rather than overt deeds. He will be hoping to get as much out of his season with Glamorgan - in terms of experience - as the Welsh club expect from him.

Finally, every county hopes that its younger players will benefit from seeing the best overseas players operate at close quarters.

Back at the match, both Paul Smith and Neil Smith perished in quick succession and Keith Piper failed to make his ground after setting off for a risky run. Considering it beat his entire tally of first class runs last year, Twose , must have been particularly pleased. He recently considered emigrating to New Zealand after five seasons of being in and out of the Warwickshire team.

For many, Reeve's declaration seemed long overdue, and when the Welsh side batted again, both Gladstone Small and Tim Munton looked dangerous, as they burst the top of the pitch with the new ball. Hugh Morris and Adrian Dale were removed without scoring. Glamorgan ended on 65 for two, 227 runs adrift. They face a stiff, but by no means impossible, task if they to are save this match.

(Photograph omitted)

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