Glamorgan 348 (Hogan 57, Chapple 4-62) and 146 for 5 (Cooke 43*) trail Lancashire 698 for 5 dec (Petersen 286, Prince 261, Croft 57*) by 204 runs
Even on a rain-flecked morning with the sun fugitive it was difficult to credit that a few folk wanted this game finished in three days. Glen Chapple was bowling and he was moving it away late from Graham Wagg and Andrew Salter, Glamorgan's eighth-wicket pair.
The air was still, though it still held the tang of the sea. Many spectators, caught between realism and hope, had opted for anoraks and shorts. They watched the cricket mostly in rapt, appreciative silence.
Of course it was natural to expect that Lancashire's players, eager for an early win and a day's rest before their journey to Worcester on Friday, aimed to have matters concluded as early as possible. But many others, whatever their loyalties, probably hoped to enjoy their full four days' cricket by the sea.
Fortunately for this large latter group, Glamorgan's team is filled with proper cricketers this summer, playing with the confidence born of regular victories. Their win against Surrey at Guildford firmly established their credentials, even though it must seem a long month since that week of wonders.
So Glamorgan's later batsmen made Lancashire work for almost every success in an entertaining morning session. After Mark Wallace had played on when driving crookedly to Chapple in the sixth over of the day the last three wickets added 175 runs, more than doubling the score to 348. And by the time Michael Hogan was last out in the ninth over after a delayed lunch for a career-best 57, Glamorgan's tail had done their best to make it clear that this was not to be a day characterised by submission and collapse
Nor was it, quite, even though Lancashire remain utterly dominant in this game, their power founded on their mammoth first-innings 698 for 5, a total that not so much exceeds Glamorgan's scores as towers over them. Even with the efforts of the tail Glamorgan were still 201 runs short of avoiding the follow on and they go into the last day on 146 for 5 in their second innings. They are still 204 runs in arrears and almost certainly heading for an innings defeat.
Once Hogan, Wagg and their friends had done their best, Glamorgan plainly needed their top order to occupy the crease for hours on this flat pitch. Yet none of the five batsmen dismissed in the second innings lasted longer than 57 minutes against this fine, well-balanced Lancashire attack, which was supported by some inspired out-cricket.
For the second time in 24 hours Glamorgan's openers failed to provide a solid platform for an innings. In the eighth over Jacques Rudolph was pouched at slip by Steven Croft when driving at a rather wide one from Kyle Jarvis which he could have left alone; in Jarvis's next over Will Bragg was brilliantly caught by wicketkeeper Alex Davies, who dived wide to his right to take a nick off the inside edge. Glamorgan were 40 for 2 at tea and the sun's brief appearance seemed almost a consolation to the supporters who had travelled from Neath or the schoolchildren from Mold and Abergele.
Things got worse for the home side in the evening session and, therefore, so much better for Lancashire, whose seventh win would all but confirm their promotion. Colin Ingram was superbly caught by Alviro Petersen off Arron Lilley, the fielder diving backwards to take the chance one-handed at deep mid-on. Then David Lloyd, having hit six pleasant boundaries, was leg before to Lilley for 34 when he went only half forward to a straight one; seven overs later, Mark Wallace, for all his studious and orthodox defence, was bowled by Kerrigan for 2.
That left Glamorgan on 120 for five and though Chris Cooke and Salter saw them safely to the close, they did so with close fielders in attendance and the spinners in full cry. There will be more of that for Cooke and Salter to deal with on the final day.
Yet all this grim defence in adversity was far removed from that morning session when Glamorgan's tail had lifted the spirits of the home supporters in the crowd. Predictably, a fresh mood was established by Graham Wagg. Glamorgan's leading run-scorer in Championship cricket, Wagg deposited Lilley into the Penrhyn Avenue gardens three times in an over, which may have disrupted the residents' morning coffee and custard creams a little.
Lilley gained some balm for his pain a few moments later when Wagg skied him to Brown at deep mid-wicket, although we could have done without the bowler's graceless send-off to the departing batsman. But Lilley is still young and he will learn.
Encouraged by Wagg's faintly mad heroics, Glamorgan other's batsmen responded with resistance of their own making. Salter and Dean Cosker, the latter almost anchoring the end of the innings, had added 45 for the ninth wicket when Jarvis bowled Salter for 43, although Lancashire had by then been forced to take the new ball.
And still bowlers continued to play like batsmen. Hogan, often regarded as a tail-ender of the old fashioned "whack, whack, out" variety, began to select his shots with fine discrimination. Three sixes, one of them into the road off Chapple, and six fours were mixed with defensive shots out of the coaching book. Lunch was delayed by eight overs but Hogan and Cosker resisted until mid-afternoon when Hogan edged Lilley to Paul Horton at slip via Davies.
The last pair had added 75 and almost everybody except eleven Lancastrians had enjoyed the entertainment. If they or Wagg had felt any scoreboard pressure, that fashionable cricketing burden of the day, they had done an excellent job of concealing it.
This was a pretty fine effort when you consider that they could see Lancashire's total of 698 every time they looked at the scoreboard. Of course, it will not save their side but it has still made the fourth day something to which all spectators can look forward, even if those in Penrhyn Avenue are spending the evening checking their insurance policies.