Law draws on style

When the administrators elected to split the championship into two divisions with promotion and relegation, this was the type of cricket match they envisaged, or at least hoped for.

When the administrators elected to split the championship into two divisions with promotion and relegation, this was the type of cricket match they envisaged, or at least hoped for.

First week of September and no reduction in intensity. No quarter was asked for and none given between Glamorgan and Essex as both pursue one of the three promotion places on offer, and although Glamorgan held the dominant position they were thwarted by a resilient partnership in the first session.

Stuart Law batted with composure and aplomb, while Ashley Cowan, the night watchman, frustrated the bowlers with a mixture of fine drives and fortuitous edges past the slips. They extended their partnership to 146 runs before Cowan was stumped by Matthew Maynard off the bowling of Dean Cosker.

The deficit was now only 16 and Essex were working hard for the draw. This would benefit Glamorgan as they would probably retain second place with the two bottom clubs , Middlesex and Nottinghamshire, left to play.

Having wasted an excellent opportunity to dominate this game with an imposing firstinnings total, a draw would suit Essex as well, putting them on 142 points, only five behind Glamorgan and in fourth place.

Their run-in is a much tougher proposition, though, with the division leaders Northampton away and then Warwickshire at home. This game in two weeks could clinch the final promotion spot for either county because the other contender, Worcestershire, have only one game remaining.

Two quick wickets early in the second session encouraged Glamorgan as Law was well caught by Keith Newell, and Stephen Peters was lbw. The lead was only eight and Glamorgan sensed a victory that would afford them a single "comfort zone" in second place, but they were not helped by a poor drop at first slip by Robert Croft when Ronnie Irani was on 36. The Essex captain had developed a useful partnership with Jamie Foster who had enjoyed his championship debut with a half century in the first innings, and this pair were really the last line of defence that needed breaching.

On good pitches where dismissals have to be earned, catches need to be held, particularly the easier ones and with the lead only 61 with over two hours play remaining, Glamorgan would have been confident of winning.

Foster was dismissed just after tea as Glamorgan attacked through Croft and Darren Thomas. Good aggressive cricket in the final session of the match played on an easy-paced pitch of even bounce. It was more than the "powers that be" at Lord's could have wished for and at the end of a week when the paucity of spinners in the English game has been highlighted, it proved that bowlers need to learn to bowl on good wickets. A few more years of cricket like this and England may unearth a spinner after all.

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