Emburey turns it on

Cricket: Northants 451-6 dec and 22-0 Glamorgan 351-7 dec
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Northamptonshire have begun their season confidently after the disappointments of last summer, which promised so much but just failed to deliver any trophies. They have recorded three straight wins in the Benson and Hedges Cup and have been frustrated by the weather after having the upper hand in their two Championship matches.

The retirement of Allan Lambcould have left a large hole in the middle order but Mal Loye is showing signs of a return to form after last season's disappointments. Even more encouraging is the burgeoning talent of Russell Warren, who scored a stylish and patient 201 not out in the first innings here.

Another key element is the arrival of John Emburey in a joint role as player and chief coach. The 43-year-old off-spinner was quickly in the groove against Glamorgan: he bowled unchanged between lunch and tea and extracted turn and considerable bounce from a good-paced pitch which offered encouragement to both batsmen and bowlers.

Glamorgan began an unremittingly grey day with some bright and attractive batting. Matthew Maynard driving sweetly and sweeping Emburey audaciously off his middle stump before edging a simple catch to the wicketkeeper, David Ripley.

Tony Cottey also thought it best policy to try and hit Emburey off his line but it was a perilous exercise and, after lunch and two breaks for rain, he sensibly opted for retrenchment.

Cottey and Gary Butcher, the 21-year-old son of the former England player Alan Butcher, compiled a stubborn stand in the afternoon. Cottey fell to a sharp catch by Warren at second slip but Butcher went on to easily surpass his previous Championship best of 41. He has a good range of strokes, driving and cutting freely and celebrating his half-century with a hearty pull through midwicket.

Butcher eventually played on to a ball from Emburey which turned sharply, although the veteran spinner's arm ball had bemused him three times in an over much earlier in his innings. Another quick wicket from Emburey hastened Glamorgan's sporting declaration and has set up the possibility of an intriguing final day.