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Cricket is a game of inches and it was by no more than an inch that Paul Nixon was run out in the last over when ten runs were needed by Kent Spitfires and Glamorgan Dragons became the 2002 Norwich Union League champions, winning by just 4 runs. It had been a match of see-saw emotions for the Welshmen, for it did not look as if they had scored enough when they batted, first Mark Ealham and then Nixon appeared to be taking the Spitfires home, news came that only rivals for the title Worcestershire Royals had won but, from the last ball, the Dragons took the match and the title.
Winning the toss and batting first, the Dragons were pegged back early on by accuracy of the Spitfires' attack, especially Martin Saggers who bowled an excellent stint of nine overs taking one for 27. That wicket was Ian Thomas who was well caught at mid-off by Steve Waugh making a lot of ground to his left and then diving to complete the catch.
Ben Trott had earlier accounted for Robert Croft who played on, but Trott became too expensive as Matthew Maynard and Michael Powell began to warm to their task. Three fours by Maynard in one over, including two elegant straight drives, saw Trott withdrawn from the attack as Mark Ealham and Matthew Fleming tried to restore order.
It was Ealham who bowled Maynard for 33, Fleming accounted for David Hemp when he had 37, but it was off-spinner James Tredwell who brought Powell's innings to an end, but not before he had scored 74 from 83 balls with eight fours and a six. Tredwell also snapped up Mark Wallace with the help of a stumping from Nixon and the Dragons had plenty of work to do in the field.
They started well enough with Matthew Fleming, making his farewell appearance on the ground, was out with the score just four. Robert Key was looking for the short boundary when he was out caught, and then the prize wicket - an absolute beauty from Andrew Davies to knock over Steve Waugh's wicket.
At 62 for three, the Spitfires were in a tailspin, but Matthew Walker and Ealham pulled them out of the dive. It took a clever piece of bowling from Croft, delivering the ball from some 23 yards, to deceive Walker after the pair had added 74 for the fourth wicket. Walker out stumped for 26, and it was a similar delivery that induced Ealham to chip a simple catch to Maynard at short mid-wicket to tilt the balance back towards the Dragons. Ealham had made 75 with five fours and three sixes and while he had been there, the Spitfires were favourites.
Nixon took up the mantle with a succession of partners as wickets fell but the target came ever closer. Alex Loudon got a short ball from Davies that he must have believed was destined for his second six until Thomas intervened to take the catch. Saggers intended a six from the first ball he faced but it went straight up in the air.
So to the last over. Mike Kasprowicz to bowl and Nixon on strike. First ball went to third man. They ran one. It was vital to keep Nixon on strike so he backed himself against Adrian Dale's arm. The throw was not quite on the money, but Wallace collected well and lunged for the wicket, breaking it with Nixon's dive leaving him that crucial inch short as the bails came off and, with only ten and jack to continue the fight, Welsh celebrations began a week before the end of the season.