Northants fall agonisingly short
Division Two leaders Northamptonshire failed in the final over of a dramatic match to win their LV= County Championship clash with Glamorgan at St Helen’s.
Requiring 149 for victory, in what turned out to be 23 overs, an intriguing contest went right down to the wire with the visitors requiring 14 from the final six balls with Andrew Hall and Niall O’Brien at the wicket.
It came down to nine needed off the final two balls, but Glamorgan were assured a draw when Graham Wagg bowled Hall with the penultimate delivery and the visitors finished on 140 for six.
It was a setback to Northamptonshire’s promotion push, but it ended Glamorgan’s run of three straight defeats. Northamptonshire took 10 points from the game to Glamorgan’s six.
Glamorgan fought back well on the final day after resuming on 181 for three, still needing 119 to avoid an innings defeat.
Leading the home side’s rearguard action was Stewart Walters, who followed up his 81 not out in the first innings with 102 - his first century for the club.
Walters set the tone, sharing in a fourth wicket partnership of 105 with Mike Powell, who contributed 55, in 36 overs.
However, Walters lost Powell, who reached his fifty from 150 balls before being bowled by David Lucas via an inside edge, and then Jim Allenby, who was bowled by Hall offering no shot.
Just before lunch Mark Wallace got off the mark with two runs which brought up the Glamorgan 300 and ensured Northamptonshire would have to bat again.
Walters brought up his century – his first for almost two years - from 167 balls with 18 fours, but was out shortly afterwards gloving James Middlebrook to Hall at leg slip.
Wallace continued Glamorgan’s fight, reaching 50 from 94 balls, but was then trapped lbw by Middlebrook, who recorded 5-127 - his best figures for Northamptonshire.
A battling 34 from James Harris ended with him carelessly chasing a wide ball from Hall, but, from 416 for nine - a lead of 116, Robert Croft and Dean Cosker added 32 for the final wicket.
Northamptonshire made the perfect start to their chase by taking 11 off Harris’ opening over, including a six by Mal Loye, who perished two overs later caught behind off the same bowler.
Three overs later Stephen Peters, the first innings double centurion, went the same way to Wagg.
When the final hour started Northamptonshire required 109 in 16 overs and they suffered setbacks as Rob White was caught behind off Allenby and Alex Wakely fell to a brilliant catch down the leg side by Wallace.
At that stage Northamptonshire were 84 for four in the 13th over and the tension gradually increased until O’Brien and Hall failed to get the 20 required from the final two overs.