Glamorgan reach final on Allenby exploits
Glamorgan 234 for 4 (Allenby 74*, Wright 47*, Tanvir 2-40) beat Hampshire 203 for 8 (Adams 59, Ervine 54, Hogan 4-51, Allenby 2-18) by 31 runs
Jim Allenby has been the saviour of Glamorgan this season. He is so prized the county secured him on a new four-year contract in August; some deal for a 30-year-old. But his value was evident as he top-scored and bowled a painfully mean spell to send Glamorgan to their first showpiece final since 2000.
His knees must be creaking given the weight of responsibility he has been forced to carry this year. Without his 1700 runs in all competitions, Glamorgan would have endured a miserable year. Here, he read the conditions far better than any of his colleagues with the bat and, with the ball, showed the correct length to bowl on a sluggish pitch.
A 60-ball half-century gave some progress to what was for 30 overs a laboured first innings. From Allenby's stability, Glamorgan added 81 in the final eight overs. That blitz, which included four fours and two sixes in Ben Wright's unbeaten innings, was more like the cricket seen recently at the Ageas Bowl. Four hundred runs were scored here in the Friends Life t20 quarter-final and run-fests ensued in England internationals with New Zealand and Australia.
The push gave Glamorgan a very competitive total, which they defended well, despite Hampshire's own late surge of 71 in the final 10 overs, led by Sean Ervine, who arguably played the innings of the day by continuing to find the rope and keep Hampshire in the hunt with 54 in 51 balls. But once he holed out to long-on with 58 needed in 27 balls, the champions were dethroned.
Ervine was removed by Michael Hogan - another who has made a standout contribution for Glamorgan and who they have relied on in all formats to be competitive. Having been slightly too full in his opening three overs, which conceded 20, Hogan closed out the match with full, straight bowling to end with 4 for 51.
But it was Allenby who led the way with the ball, conceding only 18 runs from his eight overs and claiming the wickets of openers James Vince and Michael Roberts, who were pulling their hair out at how difficult the bowling was to manoeuvre.
The Ageas Bowl has seen some cracking wickets for one-day cricket but a slow, sticky surface was unveiled for this semi-final and the conditions were alien to hosts Hampshire, as they lost a second one-day semi-final this season. Hitherto unbeaten at home in the competition this year, and successful in seven out of eight chases in the group stage, Hampshire were unable to hunt down a target asking for just under a run a ball.
Allenby was almost impossible to score off. He bowled wicket-to-wicket on a length just fuller of good. With no pace or angle to work with, the batsmen endured eight overs of largely patting the ball back up the pitch. Only one boundary came from his spell, Jimmy Adams reaching out to flick a ball from middle and off wide of deep midwicket.
It was Adams who headed the pursuit. Like Allenby, he largely settled for carefully working the bowling around and it was the Hampshire captain who elected to take the batting Powerplay in the 28th over when the required rate had leaped to 10 an over.
Two slog sweeps found the rope but as he attempted a third, Andrew Salter, Glamorgan's 20-year-old offspinner, slid one on to the front pad that was somehow not given out lbw by umpire David Millns. It was the second exceptionally close lbw appeal Adams had survived. He also escaped a caught behind decision when it appeared he gloved an attempted sweep to Mark Wallace.
But he rode his luck and brought up a 73-ball fifty with a leg side swat that bounced over the head of Wallace. It was cricket straight from a schoolboy fixture and matched the six-yard run-out Adams missed earlier in the day; one of three run-out chances Hampshire didn't take in a lacklustre fielding display.
Adams fell top-edging an on-side flick that went straight in the air when 76 were needed from 42 balls and it was too much for the new batsmen who followed to settle on a pitch where timing was very difficult all day, even accounting for a fairytale scenario from Dimitri Mascarenhas, playing his last game for Hampshire.
It was not the swansong he had hoped for. He stood at the end of his run at the Northern End preparing to bowl the 31st over of the Glamorgan innings. But the public address delayed his shuffling few strides to the crease to announce that this would be Mascarenhas's final over at the Ageas Bowl.
He acknowledged the generous applause before sending down a typically slippery over from which only three balls were scored off. A standing ovation followed as the Hampshire faithful recognised the final sight of one of their great servants. Hampshire lost the match and a legend.
Alex Winter is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo