Cricket: Watkin puts his back into it: Seamer defies pain to give England pleasure

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England . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 419 and 265-3 dec

Antigua XI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .360 and 121

England win by 203 runs

STEVE WATKIN, whose career has been spent carrying the Glamorgan attack on the broadest of backs, demonstrated his admirable resilience once again yesterday, spurring England to a resounding victory against an Antigua XI at St John's.

The Welsh seamer was expected to take no further part in the opening match of the tour after damaging his back while batting on Monday morning. Indeed, the England physiotherapist, Dave Roberts, was unable to guarantee Watkin's availability for the weekend fixture against St Kitts and Nevis.

The invalid nevertheless felt well enough to turn his arm over in the nets before the last day began and he proceeded to shrug off his discomfort, claiming three wickets in his first six overs after an enterprising lunchtime declaration from Mike Atherton that left Antigua to chase 325 in four hours.

Rewarding Atherton's decision to hand him the new ball, Watkin broke through with his fifth delivery when he had Howard Warner caught low down at first slip by Graham Thorpe. In his next over Dave Joseph was caught behind to leave Antigua tottering at 15 for 2 and, before he took his first rest, they had slipped to 41 for 3, Audwin Walsh driving a half-volley towards cover where Alec Stewart dived forward to intercept.

Alan Igglesden maintained the momentum when he returned for a second spell, inducing an edge from Earl Waldron to Graeme Hick at second slip. When Hamesh Anthony obligingly scooped Ian Salisbury's only delivery before tea straight to Stewart in the covers, Antigua were 93 for 5 and fading fast.

Thereafter there was little resistance, Watkin picking up a fourth wicket and Salisbury a further three - including Antigua's captain and first-innings century-maker, McChesney Simon - as the hosts' last five wickets fell for 10 runs.

Hick, fittingly, finished proceedings by bowling Randy Challenger, having earlier paved the way for Atherton's declaration by hitting a century strewn with boundaries. Cantering from his overnight 59 to 111 in just 12 overs, he finished with three sixes and 16 fours before holing out to long-on.

(Final day of four: England won toss)

ENGLAND - First Innings 419 (M A Atherton 108, A J Stewart 100, A R Caddick 77; H A G Anthony 4-130).

ANTIGUA XI - First Innings 360 (M V Simon 129; Caddick 5-106).

ENGLAND - Second Innings

(Overnight: 125 for 1)

G P Thorpe c Warner b Anthony. . . . . . . . . . .80

G A Hick c Smith b Simon. . . . . . . . . . . . .111

R A Smith not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34

N Hussain not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13

Extras (b6 lb7 w2 nb5). . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

Total (for 3 dec). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 265

Fall: 1-13 2-195 3-219.

Did not bat: A J Stewart, A P Igglesden, R C Russell, I D K Salisbury, A R Caddick, S L Watkin.

Bowling: Quinn 14-0-68-0; Challenger 14-5- 30-1; Anthony 17-1-63-1; Smith 7-1-38-0; Simon 14-1-53-1.

ANTIGUA XI - Second Innings

E Waldron c Hick b Igglesden. . . . . . . . . . .39

H Warner c Thorpe b Watkin. . . . . . . . . . . . 0

D R E Joseph c Russell b Watkin. . . . . . . . . .4

A Walsh c Stewart b Watkin. . . . . . . . . . . .10

* M V Simon c Smith b Salisbury. . . . . . . . .38

H A G Anthony c Stewart b Salisbury. . . . . . . .9

] C Joseph c Russell b Watkin. . . . . . . . . . .6

V Smith b Salisbury. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

J Joseph lbw b Salisbury. . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

R Challenger b Hick. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

W K L Quinn not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

Extras (lb2 w4 nb2). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8

Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121

Fall: 1-5 2-15 3-41 4-73 5-93 6-111 7-115 8-117 9-121 10-121.

Bowling: Watkin 13-5-32-4; Igglesden 9-3- 30-1; Caddick 15-3-47-0; Salisbury 12-6-10-4; Hick 0.3-0-0-1.

Umpires: C Mack and P White.

Crawley's credentials, page 46

India's run spree, page 47

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