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Glamorgan too hot to handle for Hick's men; At Sophia Gardens: Glamorgan (305 for six, 4pts) beat Worcestershire (194) by 111 runs.

Byline: Ged Scott

Injury-hit Worcestershire suffered a walloping in the Welsh sunshine as they missed their chance to top the table.

While Division Two leaders Durham were crumbling to defeat (just as Worcestershire themselves did last month, their only previous loss) at Hampshire's Rose Bowl, Graeme Hick's men hoped to take advantage.

Yet, in the face of Glamorgan's record Sunday League score, and on a day when Sophia Gardens even ran out of ice cream, Worcestershire got a licking as they wilted in the heat.

It was primarily a 151-run second wicket stand inside 20 overs between an Australian, Jimmy Maher, and an honorary Englishman, Robert Croft, that most found Worcestershire wanting, leaving the visitors, for the first time ever in this competition, needing in excess of 300 to win.

Maher maintained a weekend of Aussie mastery by hitting 18 fours in his 76-ball 94, while Croft clobbered his best in two years. Yet Worcestershire can only wonder what might have happened had they not dropped five catches.

Maher bulleted a hard chance to Phil Weston at deep mid-on on 65, while poor old Hick suffered three times in as many overs having Croft dropped, first by Anurag Singh at long-off, then by Vikram Solanki at short cover before missing a sharp return catch himself.

Singh then embarrassingly missed Glamorgan's third half centurion Adrian Dale at deep mid off on 21, exacerbating the punishment as he inadvertently knocked it over the boundary for six.

In contrast, Glamorgan proved catches do win matches by holding almost everything, most notably the brilliant effort a diving Michael Powell scooped up at midwicket to remove Weston.

Even allowing for the fact that Worcestershire were without Steve Rhodes, Paul Pollard and Matthew Rawnsley, and Solanki had to bat with a runner after injuring his groin while bowling, it was still a hefty defeat.

Glamorgan's fourth successive league win was all the more surprising too after Worcestershire's five Benson & Hedges Cup win at Cardiff last month.

On that occasion, Worcestershire's star was Andy Bichel with a brilliant century but he was not nearly so effective on his return, conceding 54 runs from his eight overs, and departing second ball.

Admittedly, Worcestershire were out of luck when Singh's attempted pull to Alex Wharf's first ball ricocheted back onto his stumps.

Singh's exit brought in jaunty Jamie Pipe and, briefly, typically, it looked like the young keeper was trying to win it single-handed by six o'clock. As usual, however, Pipe perished by the sword, caught at cover trying to hoist one through midwicket, and when Weston was spectacularly taken by Powell, it was left to Hick and the limping Solanki.

But, after putting on 42 together, Hick pulled his erstwhile England team-mate Croft to midwicket, then, inside two balls, the off-spinner trapped Solanki and tempted Bichel to charge down the pitch and be expertly stumped by Matthew Maynard.

A spot of late batting practice for Nick Boulton and David Leatherdale apart, as a contest, it was all over.

Worcestershireshire have called up 15-year-old Steve Davis to keep wicket in today's Second XI Trophy tie against Hampshire at Southampton.

Davis, who has already played one Birmingham League game this season for Kidderminster, comes in for Jamie Pipe, who is on first team duty due to regular keeper Steve Rhodes' calf injury.

MINOR COUNTIES: Shropshire demolished Herefordshire by six wickets in the ECB 38 County Cup at Kingsland.

Herefordshire, who elected to bat, were skittled out for 154 in 46.3 overs when their innings was destroyed by seam bowlers Adam Shimmons (five for 26) and Gavin Byram (three for 42).

Having stumbled to 95 for nine, only a record tenth-wicket stand of 59 between Nick Davies (55 not out) and Paul Humphries gave their innings some respectability.

Brian Jones hit an unbeaten half century with James Ralph adding 42 to earn Shropshire their third consecutive win in the competition.
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Title Annotation:Cricket
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jun 25, 2001
Words:650
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