September 14, 2003

Surrey win the National League title at Cardiff

Surrey defeated Glamorgan by 8 runs at Cardiff to win the National League title after an enthralling contest on a slow and low Sophia Gardens wicket.

The visitors won the toss and a disciplined opening spell from Michael Kasprowicz saw Surrey slip to 61/4. They were then indebted to a partnership of 76 in 16 overs between Adam Hollioake and Mark Ramprakash for the fifth wicket. The Surrey captain was initially quite circumspect, before taking 21 runs off an over from Dean Cosker to reach his half-century.

In the following over, Hollioake was bowled by Croft, but Ramprakash continued to anchor the innings, and after reaching his fifty, from 91 balls, he chipped Adrian Dale to Alex Wharf at long-off who took a fine diving catch. Dale then took the following three wickets as the visitors reached 198-9 in their 45 overs, with the Glamorgan all-rounder finishing with a commendable return of 4/35.

Nedding to score at 4.4 to beat Surrey at Cardiff for the first time since 1990, Glamorgan also lost early wickets with Jimmy Maher edged an expansive drive to the wicket-keeper and then Alex Wharf, promoted to pinch-hit, was run out off his first ball. Ian Thomas struck a note of defiance as he lofted Martin Bicknell for six, but he then became another victim for Batty as he flicked down the leg-side against Franklin Rose.

Michael Powell and David Hemp then stabilised the innings with a 49 run partnership before Powell on 40 was bowled by Tim Murtagh, to leave the Glamorgan batsman just 3 runs short of 600 runs for the season in League cricket.

Hemp and Mark Wallace soon followed as Glamorgan slipped to 130/7, before Robert Croft and Michael Kasprowicz joined forces to keep the scoreboard ticking over. However, there were few boundaries against the wily Adam Hollioke and the accurate Rikki Clarke who showed his international credentials with a disciplined spell.

It was Hollioake who made the all-important breakthroughas Martin Bicknell held onto a fine running catch to dismiss Croft for 20. David Harrison then added a further 23 with Kasprowicz before the Australian was bowled by Tim Murtagh to leave Glamorgan on 184/9.

Harrison and Cosker then scrambled a few singles but Clarke returned to settle the issue with 8 balls remaining as he uprooted Harrison`s middle-stump with Glamorgan 9 runs short of their target.