Warks try Rugby but still lose
Glamorgan 132 for 2 (Wallace 69*) beat Warwickshire 126 for 8 (Hogan 3-11) by eight wickets
If there is an air of old money about Rugby School it is hardly surprising. It was founded in the 16th century in accordance with the will of Lawrence Sheriff, who was Queen Elizabeth's grocer and was keen to do something worthwhile with his fortune for the boys of his home town. Its playing field, The Close, is better known for the legend of William Webb Ellis and the original rules of Rugby Football, but there is evidence that cricket has been played there for at least two centuries. But not like this.
The first FLt20 fixture on the ground was also the first match between county sides above 2nd XI level (Warwickshire, Leicestershire and Northamptonshire have all used the rather fine square with its circle of lime trees). Warwickshire rather hoped the change of scenery would somehow spark a change of luck in what is becoming a woeful season but only found a new place in which to lose to Glamorgan. They were beaten in Cardiff on Wednesday and at Edgbaston in their final T20 of last summer; in fact, they have lost their last four T20 matches, three of them to the Welshmen.
It did not help that they were without two of their regular top-order, with William Porterfield away with Ireland and Jim Troughton injured, but despite a bright enough opening, with 11 runs off the second over, they managed only 29 in the Powerplay and lost three wickets in the process, a position from which a recovery was always going to be difficult.
Only Chris Woakes and Rikki Clarke threatened to dominate Glamorgan's bowlers but Woakes, after hitting 25 in as many balls, fell to a clever piece of bowling from Jim Allenby, who held one back a little to draw a return catch, and Clarke brought about his own downfall, turning back after attempting a ludicrously risky single to short extra cover. Steffan Piolet's 20 off 12 balls ended with a catch at long-on off Michael Hogan, who delivered a miserly spell that brought him three wickets for 11 off four overs.
One or two batsmen departed looking ruefully at the pitch, which aside from being a little on the slow side was blameless. It is a good square, in essence, and were Warwickshire of a mind to take a Championship game away from Edgbaston, you could imagine this being a wonderful festival venue.
Glamorgan's mood was decidedly festive after they had completed an eight-wicket win with 14 balls to spare, the highlight of which was Mark Wallace's unbeaten 69 off 52 balls. Given a flying start when Allenby took three boundaries off Clarke's opening over, the second of the innings, Glamorgan were 50 for 1 after six overs and cruising thereafter. The irrepressible Murray Goodwin wrapped things up with a six off Laurie Evans and the tiny pavilion soon had a small choir of Welsh supporters, already in good voice from cheering on the Lions, gathering by the steps. Glamorgan's players, to their credit, emerged to accept handshakes and even a friendly dousing with beer.
Victory gave Glamorgan four T20 wins in a row for the first time, including that win at Edgbaston last year, and they top the group. Warwickshire, bottom of their YB40 section and next to bottom in Division One of the Championship, look a forlorn group at present. "We are putting ourselves out of games before we even get into them," Dougie Brown, their director of cricket, lamented. "In the three T20 games we have played, we have lost the Powerplay massively and from there you are always going to struggle."