Maher miffed as men of Kent give him the bumps

Kent 304 and 358 Glamorgan 286 and 203-0 Match drawn
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The Independent Online

The vagaries of the weather may have ruined what could have been an exciting final day but at least the die-hards that endured the persistent showers were rewarded with some fine strokeplay by Glamorgan's overseas player, Jimmy Maher.

He scored his first century for the club and quite frankly he needed it. With a prior top score of 38 he was hardly enhancing his reputation as an aggressive opening batsman, and although this innings was largely meaningless, he will have taken great comfort from it.

A powerful driver and quick runner between the wickets, he proved himself very Australian with his attacking intent, but not quite so strong when he allowed a schoolboy bit of banter to unsettle him. A bumper by the no more than brisk Martin Saggers enticed a poorly executed hook shot and the top edge bounced once behind the wicketkeeper before hitting the sightscreen. Next over Kent placed a deep backward square leg and dropped first slip to a kind of bat stop. The bowler was stopped in his run-up, Maher checked the unorthodox field placing and unsuccessfully tried to hook the next ball ­ a bouncer.

It was odd to see a hardened Aussie let such pranks get under his skin, but he did.

It was a shame that the rain intervened because the match was delicately poised, both sides believing they could win. The equation was Glamorgan needed another 341 off a minimum of 96 overs and, after their splendid performance last Saturday when they easily chased 365 to beat Essex, they would have fancied making this their second victory.

Kent would also have enjoyed the challenge, particularly as they had reduced Glamorgan to 114 for 6 in the first innings. Then they had only posted a score approaching parity through the efforts of wicketkeeper Mark Wallace and quickie Darren Thomas.

It has been an extraordinary week for 19-year-old Wallace. Plucked from behind the stumps at Abergavenny cricket club on Wednesday morning after the first choice, Adrian Shaw, had fallen ill, he arrived at lunch, claimed eight catches in the match and recorded a career best unbeaten 80.

Cricket is an exacting mistress, however, and if he needed reminding of that he could have done worse than walk the five yards to the Kent dressing-room. There he would find three batsmen, David Fulton, Matthew Walker and Robert Key who are enjoying the best of seasons with 832, 589, and 687 runs, respectively. Prior to this season not one of them had a career average above 30.

So dominant have their performances been that Kent have hardly noticed the absence through injury of their overseas hired blade Darryl Cullinan.