Insert your own Graeme Swann joke
is, as you have probably noticed, the number of this instalment. It didn’t occur to me when I came to muse on the last… ELEVEN DAYS?! How tardy. Yet that isn’t why this reminisci-rant being brought to you by the figure 7. It is, rather, the number of overs before the end of play that I left the Test match.
This was Saturday, I should point out. Not Monday. I’m not so foolish as to leave when Sri Lanka were on the verge of an epic collapse and one that would grant a disbelieving home “crowd” the sight of an England win. However, I am certainly feeling foolish for rushing to buy my tickets six months ago.
Having forgone the opportunity to see Stevenage win promotion to League One at Old Trafford, a morning spent underneath the SWALEC’s grandstand wasn’t exactly an effective use of my time – there’s only so much you can do with a 4/6 card. And I couldn’t lay my hands on an npower hand. But I did get a flag. Hmm.
Better people than me (i.e. Michael Atherton) have since suggested that perhaps drizzle needn’t cause play to be postponed, so no point indulging in that further. But after the action commenced, the wicket of James Anderson was all that was offered before Alistair Cook and Jonathan Trott completed their centuries.
Leaving early was no real matter of debate. The Champions League final was on the horizon. And there was a space in Dempsey’s waiting. That choice then took me on a collision path with The Two Chucks. I’m not sure if my theory on where ‘lamb shank’ originated was requested, but I offered it anyway. They took it.
That all said (I am a frightful cynic on occasion), I hope that when Cardiff stages its next Test match, the ECB have the good grace to award a June/July fixture. I can vouch for the ‘Diff’s weather at that time of year. And getting to South Wales from London costs me less than a ticket from Stevenage to London. British Rail.
And what of the mighty Glamorgan Dragons. Well, it took them half a century to win at Lord’s. Now they have two in two seasons. It was a crushing one too. Nine wickets, with Gareth Rees failing to stick around in the game’s death throes. But the damage was done in the first innings as Middlesex wilted to 150 all out.
James Harris was a driving force, trapping the England captain in front and with a delivery that screamed “PICK ME, PICK ME, PICK ME (in future, at least)”. In response, Ben Wright’s ton anchored a mahoooooosive 522. The hosts rallied on their second outing, but left Glamorgan only needing 20-odd.
Moving across London to the Kia Picanto, another full haul of batting points saw the Dragons pile on 419 – Alviro Petersen bagging a double hundred and Michael Powell left agonisingly short on 99 after he chopped on to Jordan. The hosts saw off the threat of a follow-on, but were still eventually bundled out for 284.
Rain interrupted proceedings somewhat, but not enough to prevent Gareth Rees getting in on the century action in the 259-4 that the Dragons declared on to try and force a result. It wasn’t forthcoming though. Surrey’s openers put on 150 and made it through to the close of play with the loss of just one wicket. Momentum.
Momentum indeed. It appears to have turned on Glamorgan. Northamptonshire were unfazed in their first innings of the third LVCC2 match of the last couple of weeks. Injuries are piling up and the Dragons current three-man pace attack are all of ’88 vintage – one year before Robert Croft made his first class debut.
That’s no excuse for today’s implosion though. What’s 28 short of 100? A dismal failure. The steady hands of Jim Allenby were most definitely missing today as a Glamorgan batsman came, saw, got out. Ten times. Some things you can rely on – the Dragons are always capable of a collapse; Cardiff is always capable of rain…