Glamorgan fight back in intriguing contest

First published in Glamorgan cricket

WILL Bragg and new Australian signing Marcus North both recorded important half-centuries as bottom-placed Glamorgan gained a narrow first-innings lead over Hampshire on the second day at the Ageas Bowl.

Aided by some belligerent late blows by tail-ender Dean Cosker, Glamorgan were all out for 327 in the 93rd over, gleaning an 11-run innings advantage over Hampshire in the LV= County Championship Division Two contest.

Bragg made 73 and experienced North, playing for his sixth county, scored 70 as Hampshire’s seam attack failed to exploit a green-looking wicket.

David Balcombe was the pick of the Hampshire bowlers, finishing with figures of four for 91, and his analysis would have been even more impressive had Cosker not taken 14 in an over.

Glamorgan began the day on 13 without loss in response to Hampshire’s total of 316, and soon lost opener Gareth Rees to a return catch by James Tomlinson.

When left-arm pacer Chris Wood claimed Nick James to a catch at the wicket by Michael Bates, Glamorgan were 52 for two with a long way to go.

But then Bragg and North, who made one appearance for Hampshire, came together in the most profitable partnership of the innings, putting on 96 for the third wicket in 21 overs.

Balcombe broke the stand when he had Bragg caught behind five runs short of his best score of the season, made in the previous match against Derbyshire.

Left-hander North carried on the resistance, putting on 52 with Ben Wright and another 23 with Jim Allenby for the fifth wicket.

The tenacious Balcombe, who has been outstanding so far this season, came back to end North’s 117-ball innings in which the Western Australian hit 12 fours.

Glamorgan looked to be heading for a first-innings deficit at 267 for seven but their captain Mark Wallace contributed 27 before falling to a slip catch by Liam Dawson off Balcombe and then Cosker took over.

Cosker blasted seven fours in a 38-ball innings of 40 not out, not bad for a player with a career average of 13, and was left to watch as Tomlinson came back to bowl Will Owen and last man Michael Reed edged Wood to James Vince at slip.

Hampshire, batting a second time, soon wiped out the deficit with Liam Dawson taking three fours from John Glover’s second over.

At the close Hampshire were 25 without loss, Dawson 19 not out for an overall lead of 14 with two days remaining.

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