Durham confirmed their status as one of the favourites for promotion from Division Two with a dominant performance against Glamorgan. If they had held on to a couple of chances on day four the win could have been theirs, but after the first two days had been severely weather affected, a draw always looked the most likely result.
Having been inserted Glamorgan had battled throughout the first day. They lost two quick wickets just before lunch, but were in a comfortable position at 164/4 when hail ended the day after only 47 overs had been bowled. Colin Ingram was the surprise commodity playing only his second red ball game in five years. He went in at three and finished the day 71 not out.
From then on Durham were able to gain the upper hand. Glamorgan were bowled out for 234, the last five wickets adding just 20 runs. The wickets were shared among the four Durham seamers. Unfortunately further hail then brought a premature end to play on day two, with Durham on 5/0.
On day three, Durham’s batsmen took control of the game and despite Michael Jones being dismissed when the score was on 37, Alex Lees showed his Test credentials alongside Scott Borthwick and David Bedingham and together they took the score to 348/3 by the end of play. The Glamorgan attack looked rather one paced and the pitch had flattened out.
Durham pushed for quick runs on the morning of day 4 and each batsman perished in the process. Andrew Salter picked up six wickets to add to the one he had captured the previous day as rather extravagant shots were attempted. This was Salter’s first five wicket haul in 67 first class games. Only 35 more runs were added and Lees was left stranded on 182 not out.
Durham’s first innings lead was 149 and there were 84 overs left for them to dismiss Glamorgan and force a result. The Durham bowlers started well with Chris Rushworth removing David Lloyd in the first over and then enticing Salter to play at a wide one, edging to Borthwick in the slips. Ben Raine and Paul Coughlin then picked up Ingram and Sam Northeast to reduce Glamorgan to 66/4, still 83 runs behind. An only too common Glamorgan collapse looked on the cards, but vice-captain, Kiran Carlson and Chris Cooke steadied the ship. They took Glamorgan ahead but Matty Potts then induced an expansive waft from Carlson that ended in the gloves of Ned Eckersley. Callum Taylor joined Cooke and together they saw Glamorgan into safe waters and hands were shaken just after 5:30, with 16 overs left in the day’s play.
Durham will be pleased with their batting and bowling performance and Lees will feel more confident of retaining his Test spot. The batting will be strengthened by the appearance of Keegan Petersen for their next game at home to Leicestershire, against whom they will start firm favourites. Glamorgan have some issues, particularly with the make-up of their opening pair and the penetration of their seam attack. It looks likely that Eddie Byrom will remain unavailable for the trip to Nottingham, although the return of Marnus Labuschagne will undoubtedly increase confidence amongst the team. The bowling will also be strengthened by the availability of Michael Neser, who appears to have recovered from this recent side strain. However they will have their work cut out against the Division Two favourites.