Glamorgan thwarted by Thorpe

RACE FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP: Victories for Yorkshire and Kent set up key battle at Headingley next week Surrey 204 and 487 Glamorgan 438 and 107-3 Match drawn
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The Independent Online
It is not certain where Graham Thorpe is going on his holidays at the end of the season, but it probably won't be west of the Severn Bridge. The Surrey and England left-hander chose this crucial match with Glamorgan to make 222, his highest ever first-class score, and a single-handed blow to Glamorgan's Championship ambitions.

With Kent winning at Canterbury, yesterday's draw means that Glamorgan, co-leaders four days ago, now trail the hop pickers by 12 points in second place.

Needing 254 in a minimum of 46 overs, the visitors gave up the chase after their third wicket fell for 65, Matthew Maynard and Adrian Shaw adding just 42 runs in 16 overs before bad light ended play 45 minutes early.

If Glamorgan followers were non-plussed by their team's limp attempt at chasing the target, the Surrey coach Dave Gilbert was furious over their virtual non-attempt at getting the runs.

"It was outrageous," he said afterwards, "that they gave up the chance so early. It had all the makings of a great finish. If they are going to play like that they can't expect too many favours when we play Kent."

Adam Hollioake took an equally scathing line, revealing afterwards that he had offered to bowl his spinners as bad light intervened. "It's unfortunate," said the Surrey captain. "The public [probably less than 300] come to watch cricket. For three and a half days they had a good game. In the end we didn't give them what they deserved. After all we're in the entertainment business."

In truth Glamorgan probably came here feeling that any points would be a bonus. However, after the commanding position they found themselves in at lunch on the third day, they will have been devastated not to have wrapped the game up by same time today.

The Surrey second innings lasted just over eight and a half hours. However, the telling statistic was that their last six wickets added 392 runs in just over seven of them.

Curiously Glamorgan took the second new ball, a decision unlikely to have been taken by any of Waqar's previous employers, for whom his reverse swing swung matches. It was not the only questionable tactic either, as Maynard fell foul of the English malaise of waiting for their opponents to fold rather than making things happen for themselves.

Perhaps they were unlucky to meet Thorpe at his lustrous best. Considering the parlous circumstances in which he came to the crease (9 for 2), Thorpe was simply magnificent. A punchy, nerveless presence, he found Glamorgan's strangely timid attack to his liking. Twice reprieved on Thursday, on 88 and 123, the left-hander stroked his way through an innings his captain reckoned to be "one of the best you'll see outside of Test cricket".

When he was eventually out, caught by Steve Watkin at long-on off the first ball Dean Cosker's second spell, Surrey were already 217 ahead and contemplating the declaration.

In the end they were bowled out some 253 ahead, a total that, like scaling some unfashionable Himalayan peak, deserved a far better attempt than it got.