REECE Topley continued to be Glamorgan’s tormentor-in-chief as the Welsh county faced an almost impossible battle to rescue a positive result out of their LV=County Championship clash at Essex, writes Michael Pearlman.
The hosts have maintained a slight grip on proceedings as the contest moves into the final day, but Glamorgan have at least given themselves a lead and a chance to test the nerves of the Essex batsman who have had a tough time chasing small targets this season.
Essex enjoyed the benefits of a wagging tail as they managed to establish a first innings lead of 36, having been 280 all out and Glamorgan only had to survive a couple of balls on Monday evening before bad light halted the day early.
And yesterday was another weather-effected day of cricket, but Essex still managed to make inroads at Glamorgan once again failed to suitably support the red hot Will Bragg.
The Cwmbran batsman scored 93 in the first innings and once more his efforts were the standout yesterday as his score of 46 anchored the Glam innings.
However, in terms of the pattern of play, it was more of the same, Glamorgan more than competitive in the morning before toiling after tea.
Openers Tom Lancefield and Jacques Rudolph made 29 before Lancefield edged that man Topley and Essex sniffed blood. However, a deluge of monsoonal proportions fell during the lunch interval and washed out the afternoon session with play resuming at 3.45pm with the loss of 28 overs. 46.5 overs were remaining when play resumed at 3.45pm under sunny blue skies with Ben Wright joining Bragg. However, with the total on 104, Wright dragged a delivery from Topley onto his stumps as he attempted to drive the left-armer and a collapse followed.
With Chris Cooke as his new partner, Bragg welcomed the return of Tom Moore by glancing him to long-leg and square-leg for further boundaries. Cooke opened his account by steering Topley over the head of the slip cordon, but the seamer then switched to bowling around the wicket, and with his second delivery, he bowled Cooke with the total on 118. Moore was the man who ended Bragg's diligence as the left-hander edged a ball to slip where Jesse Ryder completed the catch tumbling to his left.
His departure saw captain Mark Wallace join forces with his vice-captain and when bad light took hold, the players came off with the score at 133/5 and Glamorgan would’ve felt they still had every chance of victory on a deteriorating pitch.
Glamorgan probably hoped not to come back and that feeling wouldn’t have subsided when Topley uprooted Wallace’s stumps with an in-swinging Yorker, his tenth wicket of the match before Tom Moore dismissed Graham Wagg for a duck and Dean Cosker cheaply and in identical fashion, Glamorgan ending the day 188/8, a lead of just 152 with Michael Hogan (11*) at the crease with Allenby (34*).