Glamorgan grind out the points

Cricket Surrey 204 Glamorgan 363-7
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The Independent Online
If there is one thing Welsh cricket lovers would prefer to a National Assembly, it is to see the Championship pennant flying from the ramparts of Cardiff castle. It is a generation since Glamorgan last won cricket's premier domestic competition in 1969, a gap that the current side are putting every effort into bridging. On a day when rain interrupted play five times, that meant taking maximum batting points as well as total control of this game.

So far, they have fully deserved their domination over Surrey here. For one thing, their cricket has been urgent and considered rather than brash and carefree, like that of their opponents. More importantly, though, they have played like a team of 19th century Marxists, with each fuelling the team's effort according to their means.

After the early loss of their playmaker, Matthew Maynard, for 76, it was the only realistic way to go, and both Adrian Dale and Robert Croft made notable contributions as Glamorgan ended the day with a lead of 159.

Maynard, who had knocked the Surrey bowling around the previous day, began much as he had left off, his powerful strokes beating an ominous tattoo on the boundary boards. However, having struck Martin Bicknell for a scorching four past cover, his aggression got the better of him, and he mistimed an ambitious lofted drive back to the bowler.

With the captain gone, Dale and the diminutive Tony Cottey dug in between stoppages for rain. In the circumstances it was just what Glamorgan needed as 57 runs were added, until Dale, playing a rare loose shot, was out for 72.

The wicket, the first of three for Ben Hollioake, was well deserved, as Surrey's teenage all-rounder worked up a fair old lather from the Pavilion End. Having bowled two erratic overs on Tuesday, yesterday's figures of 16-3-56-3 were altogether more pleasing. The ball that dismissed the watchful Cottey was a particular beauty as it bounced and left him. With generous outswing a feature too, there were definite glimpses of the kind of bowler both England and Surrey are hoping Hollioake Jnr will become.

Croft, whose muted contribution to England's cause this summer has attracted criticism, also gained some credit. When balls are not bowled at a discouraging pace, Croft is a handy performer with the bat. Coming to the crease in the 60th over, he quickly restored the lost impetus with a collection of thumping drives off the seamers, as well as some hearty smears over mid-wicket. In all, he struck eight boundaries in his 53, before Hollioake Jnr trapped him lbw.

If Surrey did miss a trick, it was in not exploiting Croft's apprehension against the short ball. On a slate grey day, it was Croft's knock that made all the difference and, although Surrey's attack does not boast anyone as fast and accurate as Glenn McGrath, Hollioake Snr ought to have persisted with his leg gully for longer than he did.

However, in a tight Championship race like this one, dodging the showers is almost as important as picking up bonus points. Where the weather strikes over the next few days will be just as crucial as how teams bat and bowl.

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