It’s not been a bad few weeks to be Welsh. As a nation basks in the glory of footballing achievements, its people will do well not to ignore Glamorgan’s unstinting feats in T20 cricket that leaves them on the brink of a home quarter-final.
The Welsh side sealed a seventh South Group success in comfortable fashion, cantering to a nine-wicket victory over Middlesex in a forgettable encounter at Richmond’s Old Deer Park.
With the hosts at 39-5, you could almost hear the inevitable clunk of the picnic hamper in the back of the Range Rover so remote was the hope of a tight finish.
Thanks to some sensible batting from Eoin Morgan and an enterprising half-century from Ryan Higgins, the panthers managed to drag themselves up to 144 and a vaguely competitive total.
Glamorgan’s opening pair of David Lloyd and Mark Wallace never looked fussed by the run-chase though, putting on 125 before a wicket was taken.
Veteran keeper-batsman Wallace doesn’t tend to play white-ball cricket but he got off to a brisk start, flaying a James Fuller full toss for four and cutting the next ball to the rope as well to reach 37/0 in four overs.
With Wallace chipping Fuller for six over wide long-on, in-form Lloyd was left to play a supporting role.
Lloyd, who has been tipped for international honours by both Jacques Rudolph and Shaun Tait, freed his arms in the ninth, hitting Nathan Sowter for six and a further four in one over to take them up to 90 without loss.
There was more than a hint of the inevitable as the opening stand reached three figures and Glamorgan continued to trot along merrily at nine an over, far higher than the required rate at every stage.
Only Lloyd’s dismissal, caught at backward point one short of a 50, averted a ten-wicket margin of victory.
Three consecutive sixes from Colin Ingram off Ollie Rayner knocked off the 18 runs needed for the win and were an emphatic endnote to Glamorgan’s resounding victory. Wallace was unbeaten on 69.
Middlesex’s innings started very poorly as captain Dawid Malan was beaten for pace by a Shaun Tait ripsnorter that took out leg stump.
After Paul Stirling had fired a boundary over mid-on, he went reaching for a Tait delivery outside off stump and it caught the edge of his bat – well away from his body – to find Wallace’s gloves.
The experienced pair of Morgan and George Bailey were tasked with rebuilding the innings. They were able to work singles to some extent but still struggled against Tait’s enduring speed and Michael Hogan’s steepling bounce.
The third wicket was down before long though, as Bailey – who never really got going – was trapped in front by Craig Meschede at 34-3.
Once John Simpson had hit a four off his first delivery, a nightmarish period of seven balls in which two wickets went down and only one run was scored ensued.
Two identical dismissals did for Simpson and James Franklin, who both nicked to Ingram at first slip off Timm van der Gugten to send the home side plunging to 39-5.
Higgins joined the England limited-overs skipper and the pair set about guiding their side to a defendable total. Morgan, while perhaps giving some Glamorgan bowlers too much respect, clearly felt his responsibility to bat through keenly.
After he reverse swept Dean Cosker for four in the eleventh over, the Seaxes went on a 22-ball boundary drought until Morgan cleared his body and launched Graham Wagg over midwicket for six.
After hitting a maximum to go to his half-century, Morgan on 58 found Aneurin Donald on the leg-side fence.
This ended an important innings and a partnership of 69 with Higgins, who displayed considerable maturity through his knock.
He thumped Tait through the leg side and hit three straight boundaries from Wagg’s expensive penultimate over, which included a steepling six over cow corner’s head. Two wickets fell in Hogan’s final over, those of Toby Roland-Jones, caught at long-on, and Rayner, bowled.