(writes Andrew Hignell)
Glamorgan resumed after tea on 111-8, and leading by 38 runs after Dan Douthwaite and Marchant de Lange had bludgeoned 51 runs in just 3.3 overs before the interval. Both were eager to do more when play resumed with 43 overs remaining in the day’s quota as Jack White and Luke Procter resumed the bowling duties. A single into the covers by Douthwaite saw the young all-rounder complete his fifty from 54 balls before de Lange swiped another massive six over mid-wicket against Procter.
Douthwaite then square-cut White for four before striking a full toss from Procter over mid-wicket for six. Left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan then entered the attack and was twice cut for four by de Lange to complete a 29-ball fifty. Another single by Douthwaite saw their efforts become Glamorgan’s best ninth wicket stand against Northamptonshire and eclipsing the 88 added by Cyril Walters and Frank Ryan at the same ground in 1925.
Another four through the covers by de Lange against Procter plus a huge carve for six to long-on brought up the century stand from just 57 balls. De Lange then again deposited Procter over long-on for six to take the lead over 100 before Rob Keogh’s off-spin was employed and was pulled for six by the South African in the direction of Wellingborough. De Lange also drilled Kerrigan for six over long-on to equal his career-best before scything him high over mid-wicket for six and then on 98 being dropped at long-off.
He then posted his hundred with a hurried single to square-leg reaching three figures from 62 balls – two balls quicker than Gary Butcher’s 64-ball hundred against Oxford University at The Parks, 1997 – and in 74 minutes – four minutes longer than Gilbert Parkhouse’s century at Northampton in 1961 and Majid Khan’s against Warwickshire at Edgbaston in 1972.
Next over de Lange straight drove Kerrigan for another six to beat the highest score by a Glamorgan number ten made by Johnnie Clay who made an unbeaten 101 against Worcestershire at Swansea in 1929. But with the total on 228, the stand ended as Douthwaite was stumped for a Glamorgan-best 86 as he advanced down the wicket to Kerrigan having added 168 in just 19.2 overs. Michael Hogan duly joined the South African and edged Hutton for four before two overs later cover-driving successive deliveries for four over extra-cover.
On 110 de Lange survived a difficult stumping chance as he advanced down the wicket to Kerrigan but three runs later he miscued a drive against the spinner and holed out at backward point having faced just 78 balls and striking 6 fours and 9 sixes. There were 19 overs remaining, plus tomorrow’s 90, at Northamptonshire’s disposal to chase their target of 189, or Glamorgan to claim ten wickets in this extraordinary game. The floodlights were also on as Michael Hogan and Timm van der Gugten opened the bowling before a brief stoppage for rain after 1.4 overs and the loss of three overs. When play resumed, Ben Curran edged van der Gugten through the gully for four before Emilio Gay clipped the Dutchman to mid-wicket for four followed by a trio of edges into the slip cordon against Hogan with the ball in each instance just dropping short of the fielders.
With the total on 27, Curran drove a ball straight back to van der Gugten who snaffled the ball in his follow-through as Charlie Thurston made his way to the middle. He got off the mark with a cover-driven four against van der Gugten before steering Hogan for three through the gully. De Lange then entered the attack at the Pavilion End and was clipped by Gay to square-leg for three. Thurston then punched de Lange off the back foot for four through extra-cover before Kieran Bull had an over and was pulled for four by Thurston before drizzle led to the close of play at 7.10pm as the home team’s target was whittled down to 127 runs.
The morning session had seen 7 wickets tumble for 46 runs in the space of 25.1 overs and the wickets continued to fall as Glamorgan resumed after lunch on 2-2. The next came during the third over of the session as Muzarabani struck again as Billy Root gloved a rising ball down the leg-side with Ricardo Vasconcelas completing another tumbling catch behind the stumps.
Chris Cooke got off the mark by steering the Zimbabwean over the head of the slip cordon for four before on-driving Jack White for three, but later in the over, the bowler made further inroads as he trapped Joe Cooke l.b.w. 15-4 saw Callum Taylor join his captain and he survived a loud appeal for leg before to his first delivery. He was however, not so fortunate next over as Muzarabani struck again with the young tyro caught in the gully as the Welsh county slid further to 16-5.
Dan Douthwaite began with a glance for four to fine-leg before Cooke punched White off the back foot through the covers. In his next over, White claimed his second wicket as the visiting captain, with the total on 28, edged to Hutton at second slip. Timm van der Gugten began with an edged four through the slip cordon before Douthwaite on-drove and pulled successive balls from Hutton to the boundary boards.
With the total on 42, van der Gugten spliced a pull against White into the hands of Thurston in the gully before Muzarabani returned and was clipped to square-leg by Kieran Bull as the fifty came up in the 27th over. Douthwaite then pulled the Zimbabwean for six taking his side past Glamorgan’s all-time low against Northants, achieved at the Arms Park in 1921 when they were bundled out for 54. He continued to counter-attack as he on-drove Muzarabani for another four but with the total on 60, White bowled Bull.
Marchant de Lange began with a lusty drive through mid-wicket for three before Douthwaite clubbed White to long-on for another rustic boundary. De Lange copied the stroke in Muzarabani’s next over before wiping off the arrears with a smear over the head of the gully fielders. The South African then plonked successive deliveries from the Zimbabwean for a pair of massive sixes as the ball ended up in the gardens of the houses lining the leg-side boundary before swiping the next ball for another leg-side boundary.
He followed this by hitting White inside-out over the head of extra-cover for four before Douthwaite spliced a drive to third man against Muzarabani followed by a lofted off-drive for another boundary. He then produced another furious pull for four as Glamorgan went to tea on 111-8
In the absence of many overseas players and others on Kolpak-registrations, several counties have opted to use the games in the Bob Willis Trophy to give opportunities to many of their younger players on the fringe of their regular 1st XI. Northamptonshire are a case in point, resting and rotating a number of experienced players and giving a chance to others such as Charlie Thurston who yesterday posted his maiden hundred for the East Midlands side before being dismissed by Callum Taylor, Glamorgan’s rookie off-spinner, who had himself hit the headlines on Saturday with his audacious century on first-class debut.
There were members of the old guard who were eager to make their mark, not least Michael Hogan who had come into this game at Northampton with the outstanding career tally of 599 wickets in first-class cricket. The 39 year-old duly resumed the bowling with Timm van der Gugten as play resumed this morning under blue skies and with an additional 8 overs following the rain interruption yesterday with the home side looking to build on their 29-run lead in the remaining 32 overs at their disposal under the competition’s regulations restricting first innings to a maximum of 120.
The new ball was taken after a couple of overs with Ricardo Vasconcelas surviving a loud appeal for l.b.w. against Hogan before playing and missing against the evergreen Australian. Saif Zaib also did the same against van der Gugten before, with the total on 291, edging to Nick Selman at second slip with the fielder taking a good low catch to his right as the Welsh county secured a second bowling point.
Brett Hutton joined Vasconcelas who, on 36, had a life as an edge against Hogan just evaded the grasp of third slip. The batsmen then rubbed salt into Glamorgan’s wounds by cover-driving the seamer for four later in the over. Hogan again beat the outside edge of Hutton’s bat before Marchant de Lange replaced him at the Pavilion End and was cover-driven by Vasconcelos as he completed his half-century. Later in the over, de Lange also struck Vasconcelos as he top-edged a pull into his helmet with the ball ricocheting into the slips.
Dan Douthwaite also replaced van der Gugten at the Lyn Wilson End but it was de Lange who claimed the next wicket as Selman completed a head high catch at second slip to remove Hutton. 320-7 nearly became 320-8 as Simon Kerrigan - in his first innings in county cricket since September 2017 at Leicester - survived a sharp chance at third slip but next over Chris Cooke made amends as he snaffled an edge down the leg-side as Kerrigan fended a short ball from Douthwaite.
Vasconcelas, one of the shortest batsmen on the county circuit, was then joined by one of the tallest as Blessing Muzarabani made his way to the middle and turned down a series of runs to protect his partner before holing out to van der Gugten at long-off as de Lange claimed his third wicket and Glamorgan secured their third batting point. Next over, he ended the innings on 332 as he bowled Muzarabani with Northants securing a 73-run lead.
Having taken 5 wickets for 44 runs in 20.2 overs, Glamorgan had twenty minutes batting before lunch with Selman and Joe Cooke facing Hutton and Muzarabani. As in the first innings, the latter found the edge of the bat with his first delivery but whereas Cooke survived first time around, Selman was not so fortunate as Vasconcelos completed the catch diving one-handed to his right in front of first slip. The tall Zimbabwean then struck Kiran Carlson on his helmet before the batsman departed in the final over of the session as he was trapped l.b.w. by Hutton.