Glamorgan are unaccustomed with the process of recovery following a Championship defeat this season, so impressive has their form been, but how they come back after their first loss will likely decide which division they compete in next year.
Here at Chelmsford they were second best throughout, where Jesse Ryder secured an emphatic victory four overs after lunch on day four to complete his second 10-wicket haul for the county and reignite Essex’s own promotion chances.
While varying weather aided the hosts, cloud cover and humid conditions moving in on the final day, the New Zealander produced a bowling performance of relentless control that the visitors could not escape from.
Aneurin Donald, just 18 years old and in his second game for the club, offered the only resistance on the final morning, displaying composure beyond his years to make a half-century and record a first-class best of 67 – although an inside edge for four that evaded the diving Foster certainly helped. The wily David Masters eventually removed him, encouraging Donald to fend off a short delivery behind.
By then Glamorgan’s chances of achieving a positive result from the match were doomed. Having started the morning session on a healthy 110/1, Jacques Rudolph departed 12 balls in, when Ryder’s subtle away swing kissed the edge and flew to James Foster.
Light rain halted proceedings for five overs before Ryder deceived Colin Ingram with the same trick to begin a collapse of seven wickets for 45 runs. Chris Cooke will feel slightly annoyed at his duck, Jaik Mickleburgh, while suffering from back spasms, dived full stretch to take a stunning catch at gully.
Precision bowling by Jamie Porter, Liam Dawson and Masters, and an under pressure middle-order flung into proceedings early, then accounted for Mark Wallace, Craig Meschede and David Lloyd, who fell on the last ball before lunch, chipping a Dawson delivery back to the bowler.
Another swift breakthrough after the break – Andrew Salter nicking Masters to Foster seven balls into the session – left Graham Wagg to supply some late fireworks, hitting Ryder for 18 runs off seven balls until he holed out to Graham Napier at long off.
The loss means Glamorgan remain outside the top two, losing further ground on second place Surrey, who look set for victory from their ongoing home fixture with Kent. While Glamorgan still maintain a game in hand over the London side, they will want to forget about this showing fast and get back to winning ways if they are to have any chance of sealing Division One cricket.