Croft rolls back the years to sink Gloucestershire
Glamorgan 208 (Cosker 49*, Nicol 4-53) and 204 for 7 dec (Walters 56) beat Gloucestershire 165 (Croft 4-51) and 221 (Taylor 63, Cockbain 55, Croft 4-53) by 26 runs
Veteran offspinner Robert Croft took four wickets in the space of 23 balls as Glamorgan beat Gloucestershire by 26 runs on an enthralling final day of their Division Two match at Swansea.
Glamorgan had set Gloucestershire a fairly generous 248 to win in a minimum of 81 overs and while the seventh wicket pair of Jack Taylor (63) and Ian Cockbain (55) were together a victory for the visitors still looked possible.
But with Gloucestershire on 195 for 6, 42-year-old Croft, possibly playing his last Championship game at the ground, turned the match Glamorgan's way removing the two dangermen and mopping up the tail. He followed up figures of 4 for 51 in the first with 4 for 53 in the second, giving Glamorgan 20 points from the match. Gloucestershire took just three.
At the start of the innings spin also worked for Glamorgan. The introduction of Dean Cosker as early as the fifth over them a breakthrough with Chris Dent caught at short leg. Gloucestershire lost two wickets in the first over after lunch. Rob Nicol went third ball edging a catch low down to Stewart Walters at second slip off Jim Allenby, and Alex Gidman edged an Allenby out-swinger behind. It left Gloucestershire 27 for 3.
The reintroduction of Cosker produced another wicket when Hamish Marshall recklessly holed out at deep mid-on to leave his side 48 for 4. But Glamorgan were frustrated for 19 overs while Dan Housego and Cockbain added 68 before Marcus North entered the attack with his off-breaks and had Housego well stumped by Mark Wallace.
Gloucestershire went into tea requiring a further 138 to win from 38 overs but Glamorgan struggled to get another breakthrough in the overs immediately after the break. However, John Glover produced a fine catch at long-on to remove Benny Howell off North. It left Gloucestershire 141 for 6 - requiring a further 107 to win in 24 overs.
The innings was given some impetus with 17 coming off an over from North, with Taylor striking him for a six and two fours. Taylor struck his maiden first-class half-century from only 31 balls with two sixes and six fours. However, the complexion of the match suddenly changed as Croft took three for six in 11 balls - two in the space of four balls.
Cockbain guided a turning ball straight to Stewart Walters at leg slip and the veteran spinner struck again to claim the wicket of Richard Coughtrie, who was brilliantly caught at the second attempt by Rees. And in his next over Croft beat Jack Taylor to leave Gloucestershire 210 for 9. The final wicket came at 5.30pm when Ian Saxelby drove Croft straight to midwicket.