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Paul Edwards at Colwyn Bay
July 6, 2014
Surrey 121 for 0 ( Ansari 55*, Burns 51*) trail Glamorgan 232 (Allenby 69, Tremlett 5-60, Curran 4-88) by 112 runs
So easy, it was, to argue that the eyes of the sporting world were elsewhere this summer Sunday in North Wales. Wimbledon, a Grand Prix and the Tour de Yorkshire all attracted the attention of armchair spectators and maybe persuaded a few that the Division Two match between Glamorgan and Surrey at Penrhyn Avenue could be disregarded until the morrow.
Yet the serried ranks of members and paying customers on all sides of this smartly-presented seaside ground with its glassy outfield and distinctive embankment offered plenty of evidence that the siren voice in the corner of the lounge had been resisted in favour of a day at the cricket. If so, the devotion of county game's faithful was rewarded by three sessions of rare entertainment.
At the end of it all, Surrey were completely in the ascendant. Their seamers dismissed Glamorgan for 232 and then put their feet up and watched with complete satisfaction as openers Rory Burns and Zafar Ansari replied with a deeply assured 121 for no wicket in 42 overs of controlled strokeplay. If you want to know how good a pitch is, goes the current motto, wait until both sides have batted on it. Well, the ease and composure of Burns and Ansari suggests that this is a decent wicket and the long final session threw the prodigality of a few home batsmen into rather sharp relief.
However, Burns and Ansari's careful devotion to their duties would not have been possible had not Chris Tremlett collected his second five-wicket return of the season by making good use of a pitch which still repaid attention to line and length. Nor would Tremlett's efforts have been as well rewarded had he not been so well supported by Tom Curran, who finished the innings with 4 for 88.
Tremlett's merit was especially noticeable in the morning session when he bowled Jacques Rudolph all ends up in his fourth over before trapping Ben Wright on the crease for a first ball lbw with the second delivery of his fifth. That dismissal sandwiched the removal of Will Bragg, who edged Tom Curran to first slip Solanki via the palms of his neighbour Jason Roy, and it left the home side on 15 for 3.
In the past such situations appeared almost to have been manufactured as opportunities for Murray Goodwin to display his patience and pugnacity, but the Zimbabawean's abilities seem not what they were and his rash cut gave Curran his second wicket of the morning. Goodwin turned on his heels and departed in fury; perhaps he knows that the runs will never be easy to come by again.
The rest of the session was dominated by Chris Cooke and Jim Allenby, both of whom took heavy toll of Matt Dunn, who followed three maidens with four overs costing 32 runs. The home side lunched on 81 for 4.
The afternoon's play followed a similar pattern: flurries of boundaries were almost exchanged for wickets but it was a deal which clearly suited Gary Wilson's bowlers. Cooke was lbw to Curran for 45 in the third over after the resumption and Mark Wallace nicked Dunn to the wicketkeeper to end a breathless eight-over period in which he and Allenby had added 54 runs. Most of these came off Dunn, who was brutally clipped and cut to the short boundary in front of the houses on the Gordon Avenue side of the ground.
By now, news was filtering though that Andrew Flintoff was playing for Lancashire and that the tennis was worth watching. It didn't matter; the Colwyn Bay crowd remained focused on their own side's shot-filled struggle to build a decent total
The Glamorgan score was 146 for 6 when Wallace departed, scarcely a crisis for the Surrey attack, one would think, yet Allenby's all-round talents have ruined many sides' plans over the years. Thus, it was a wise move for Wilson to recall Tremlett and his bowler responded by removing Allenby for a 69 which had included 13 polished boundaries, when a good length induced a drive and an edge to Roy in the slips.
Still the attack went on, this time in the muscular hands of Will Owen, who learned his cricket down the road in Prestatyn. Glamorgan's No9 whacked seven fours in his unbeaten 37, but the locals' premature plans to salute his fifty were stymied as Tremlett got rid of Dean Cosker and Michael Hogan, thereby ending the innings on what appears a plainly inadequate total. The innings had included 38 boundaries.
Burns and Ansari's approach to matters was more methodical and plainly less frenetic than that of Glamorgan's batsmen. By the end of the day it had paid substantial dividends, yet even as their bowlers were denied, the home supporters remained gripped by the cricket and hoped in vain for a breakthrough. Events in SW19 and even the reboations from Worcester were left for another day.
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