Vitality County Championship – Glamorgan v Derbyshire Day 1

Vitality County Championship – Glamorgan v Derbyshire Day 1

Alex Thomson

Alex Thomson takes the honours in Cardiff with a career best 7/65

The ECB will be happy with the impact of the Kookaburra ball at Sophia Gardens as Derbyshire off spinner Alex Thomson rattled through 25 overs unchanged either side of tea, taking 7/65 and leaving Glamorgan 13 runs short of a batting bonus point. He was able to extract significant if slow turn from the day one pitch and took full advantage.

Despite blue skies and warm sun, the start was delayed in Cardiff because of soggy areas just short of the take off area for the bowlers. Some judicious use of sand at each end convinced the umpires that play could start at 11:30 and ex-Glamorgan skipper David Lloyd won the toss for Derbyshire and opted to bowl first.

Derbyshire omitted Matt Lamb and Jack Morley, leaving Alex Thomson as the sole spin option. Lloyd was making his Championship debut, having played One Day cup games last summer when on loan, while Aneurin Donald and Blair Tickner were making their club debuts. The only change for Glamorgan from the side that played at Lords was the introduction of leg spinner Mason Crane for his debut, with Craig Miles having returned to Warwickshire.

Sam Conners and Zak Chappell opened the bowling and it was Chappell from the Cathedral Road end who created most of the problems. Billy Root and Zain ul Hassan survived some early scares and it was the introduction of Tickner that brought the breakthrough. His extra pace induced an edge off Root and Brooke Guest took a simple catch. He then sent Sam Northeast back to the pavilion with a ball that nipped back through the gate, having been moving the ball away from the right hander and last week’s triple centurion was out for 11, leaving Glamorgan 53/2. An over of spin before lunch produced some turn for Thomson, but it was navigated by ul Hassan and Kiran Carlson, Glamorgan finishing the session on 60/2 from 21 overs.

The two batters made steady progress after lunch against Chappell and Conners, Carlson the dominant partner and they brought up a 50 partnership off 63 balls. After eight overs a switch was made and Tickner continued to look the most dangerous of the seamers. However it was Thomson who made the breakthrough, ul Hassan moving down the wicket to be beaten by a ball that turned sharply and he was stranded as Guest removed the bails. His dismissal for 35, another start he could not convert, left Glamorgan on 113/3. Carlson brought up his 50 off 65 balls, but became another victim for Thomson who continued to extract turn, trapping him lbw for 74. By this time Harry Came had come on with his very part time off spin, having bowled just eight overs in first class cricket up until now, suggesting that the Derbyshire leadership might have already been regretting their omission of a second spinner. Glamorgan went into tea at 172/4, Colin Ingram on 24 andu Chris Cooke 8.

Tickner and Thomson opened the bowling after tea and in his second over Tickner found the edge of Cooke’s bat, the ball going low to Madsen’s left hand, standing at a wide first slip, but it didn’t stick. Ingram was finding run scoring difficult and he played a loose shot off Thomson, hitting it straight into the hands of Anuj Dal at short cover, his 30 coming off 82 balls with just one boundary. Cooke and Dan Douthwaite saw Glamorgan to 200, but Cooke (20) then flicked a ball off Thomson to leg slip where Lloyd took an excellent one handed catch. Thomson picked up his fifer by clean bowling Harris for four, playing an ugly sweep and Glamorgan were 209/7. Thomson continued to work his way through the Glamorgan batting, taking a fierce return catch off Douthwaite, out for 23. Conners then broke Thomson’s run of wickets, cleaning up James Harris for four, before Thomson bowled Crane, who took one too many liberties with his shot making. He finished with a career best 7/65, bowling unchanged from the Taff end for 25 overs either side of tea. This was Deryshire’s first seven-wicket haul by a spinner since Geoff Miller back in 1982. Glamorgan’s innings closed on 237, having lost five wickets for just 37 runs in the space of 12.2 overs.

Derbyshire were left to bat for 16 overs and Harris and Mir Hamza both caused the batters problems with lateral movement. Luis Reece, having scored 591 runs for two dismissals last summer, did not bother the scorers on this occasion, dragging a short ball from Harris onto the stumps and Derbyshire were 2/1. Came survived a close lbw appeal off Harris and Lloyd had a vociferous appeal for a catch behind off Hamza turned down. Spin came on at both ends in the 11th over, but they did not have the control Thomson had demonstrated and conceded 29 runs in the last six overs. Lloyd was fortunate, dropped at short backward square leg by Hamza off Carlson when on 19. Derbyshire finished on 46/1, Lloyd on 25 and Came on 11.

Undoubtedly it was Derbyshire’s day and afterwards we caught up with Alex Thomson.

“Looking at the wicket prior to the game, I thought there would be a bit of spin but not as much as it did, so it certainly made it entertaining from my half. I thought the wicket would dry out and the spin dissipate, but that didn’t happen so it’s been an interesting day, a really enjoyable day, and there’s going to be a lot of spin bowled in the game.

“We’re in a strong position. It’s an important start in the morning but the boys have done a cracking job.”

From a Glamorgan perspective Kiran Carlson reflected on a difficult day.

“Yeah, mixed I’d say. I think we were obviously in a pretty strong position in the early parts of the day and Thomson bowled really nicely  and it started spinning quite a lot. Not good getting bowled out but there’s enough  in the wicket and we created a fair few chances tonight in that little spell so I think tomorrow is about sticking to a process and keeping it more simple. I think me and Mason are probably a little bit guilty of trying a bit too hard there in the back end of the day as spinners, but knowing that we can put the ball in the right area there is enough in that wicket just to take some poles tomorrow morning.

“The groundsmen have obviously had a really tough job on their hands with all the weather around. I don’t think anyone was expecting it to spin that much, but it’s the cards that have been dealt and we’re going to have to do our best to put ourselves in a winning position come day three and four.

“I think tomorrow there’s definitely going to be nine chances for us to take so if we can kind of field as well as we can and bowl as well as we can, every chance we can bowl them out kind of around that 250 mark.”


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