Marsh deal lifts sad Glamorgan
Glamorgan 187 (Mills 4-25) and 99 for 5 drew with Essex 259 for 9 dec (Petersen 145) and 166 for 9 dec (Westley 52)
Glamorgan have rebranded their one-day team this season as the Welsh Dragons but the makeup of their XI suggests the decision could be referred to the Advertising Standards Authority, given the lack of Welshmen that will be appearing.
Shaun Marsh, the Australian batsman, was announced on day four as the club's second overseas player for the Friends Life t20, joining other players of foreign origin: Stuart Walters, Martin van Jaarsveld, Jim Allenby - Glamorgan's T20 captain - and Marcus North, the Australian batsman who arrived today to watch his latest county battle for a draw.
Glamorgan are the only team in Division Two not to have won so far this season. North is desperately needed to shore up a batting line up that has suffered collapse after collapse and only breeched 200 once. North is a overseas journeyman in county cricket - this will be his sixth county, the most by an overseas player. His last appearance at Cardiff was his Test century in the famously drawn Ashes Test of 2009. It was a great deal easier to bat in that match than the majority of the opening five rounds of this season.
He admitted April was a good month to miss - his arrival was delayed by a finger injury and the birth of his second child - and that batting problems had not been confined to Glamorgan. "In these conditions you can find yourself out of a game after an hour of play and I think we've seen that with Glamorgan this year," North said. "There's still a lot of cricket left to be played and even though it hasn't been the ideal start there are more competitions in which to compete and hopefully at some stage find ourselves at the right end of the ladder."
The competition North is most excited about is T20. Glamorgan have signed, in Marsh, someone who North describes as one of the best T20 players in the world. North played with Marsh in the Perth side who reached the final of Australia's Big Bash League. "Matthew Mott and his team have done really well to get Shaun. He's going to come and have a huge impact. He's a really exciting player to get. You do play at some small grounds, and one of his strengths is hitting straight.
"We've got some really good players here now. If Simon Jones stays fit he's going to have a massive impact on one-day cricket because of his raw pace. And Martin van Jaarsveld seems to have his mojo back again - I reckon that's a good experienced signing too. That's pretty much how we based our side in Perth - we got a lot of the old guys back, because when you're under pressure experience counts for a lot and T20 is the highest pressure and intensity."
There was plenty of pressure as Glamorgan survived 42 overs for a draw on the final afternoon. Given their experiences so far this season, even such a short time to survive would have been a significant mental challenge. But they did not receive the intensity of the first innings. Tymal Mills was largely ineffectual and played with relative comfort by Huw Waters, who was promoted up the order to No. 7 and saw Glamorgan to the close, brought about, fittingly for the match, by bad light.
They might have been pushing for a win had they capitalised after reducing Essex to 37 for 5, leading by 109. Graham Wagg and Will Owen used the new ball to provide further failures for Alastair Cook, who was not forward to a ball that nipped away, and Ravi Bopara, leaning out to drive and dragging on.
But a feature of the match - and probably cricket in general but heightened in the conditions at the start of this season - was that batting got much easier and partnerships developed after the new ball had been seen off in all four innings. Tom Westley and Greg Smith put on 79 as Essex declared later than hoped.
It was too late a declaration. It was probably asking too much to bowl Glamorgan out in 49 overs even though Graham Wagg couldn't bat; he was taken to hospital with a broken bone in his foot after falling when fielding off his own bowling at mid-wicket. He will miss six weeks.
Despite the limited time available, Essex were on course when Charl Willoughby bowled Ben Wright with the first ball after tea. Glamorgan were 37 for 4. But Gareth Rees and captain Mark Wallace found the anticipated stand.
Alex Winter is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo