EVEN in a changing game, some traditions remain. Glamorgan, second in the table, heartily chased a target set by Hampshire, third from bottom, knowing that defeat would not reverse their placings, even by the end of the season. They had required 326 from a minimum 73 overs on an obstinate pitch.
Three months ago, it would have been different. Batting last, with the odd exception, has been far from Glamorgan's strong point this summer. This time, they raced all the way - to defeat with 10.5 overs to spare on a surface which ruled that the toss winners had the better chance.
Mark Nicholas called correctly and the turn apparent on the first day was more extravagant and predictable on the last, as Shaun Udal returned 5 for 75, with match figures of 7 for 184.
Clandestine captaincy agreements had not been arranged. The target was off the cuff, especially after the first scheduled 13 overs of a sunlit morning were trimmed by a drying-out process.
Hampshire's win was their fourth this summer, none of them on home soil. It was fostered by Malcolm Marshall, bowling with considerable venom after lunch, following his previous medium-pace tempo. Marshall began with the wicket of Vivian Richards, caught at the wicket third ball from a bottom edge. John Holder, the square-leg umpire, needed to confirm it had carried and Richards trundled off on his difficult day.
A chest infection and unavailability to field forced him to bat at No 6, with Hugh Morris and David Hemp carrying the load long after David Gower's seventh Championship half-century this season guided Hampshire to a declaration.
Robert Croft penetrated Gower's defensive stroke on his way to match-figures of 9 for 231 and a Glamorgan match aggregate of 96 overs, overtaking Len Muncer's 90.5 against Sussex here in 1948. Muncer did it in three days, Croft in four.
Hemp, deputising for Matthew Maynard, made 63 from 70 balls but victory was not realistically in sight after Morris was caught off a lifting ball and Hemp cut to backward point.
Glamorgan reached the final 20 overs on 197 for 7 at 5.06pm on most watches, but the umpires' had been carefully synchronised at the start of the match. This is a rare ground where a clock is not fully visible.
It scarcely mattered. The victory margin was comprehensive and Glamorgan look to their match against Gloucestershire at Abergavenny on Thursday to cement their position.Reuse content