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Billy Root And Eddie Byrom See Glamorgan Home To Opening Draw

By Gareth James

Glamorgan coach Matthew Maynard paid tribute to batsmen Billy Root and Eddie Byrom as they held out Gloucestershire from stealing an unlikely win in the opening County Championship match of the season.

A Graeme van Buuren hundred led a brilliant Gloucestershire comeback in Cardiff to secure a very creditable draw.

Having trailed by 239 runs after the first innings, Gloucestershire made 569 for 7 in their second innings to set Glamorgan 331 to win.

Three early wickets gave Gloucestershire a slim chance of pulling off the unlikeliest of wins, but a solid stand between Root and Byrom saw the home side to safety at 110 for 3.

“Gloucestershire played really well to get themselves out of a tricky situation, took the game away, and gave themselves a sniff (of victory), but there was great composure by Eddie and Billy to see out the innings and secure the draw,” said Maynard..

“We were very happy with the first two days, it couldn’t have gone much better, but that opening partnership for the Gloucesters took the sting out of the new ball and played very well, then they kept on building partnerships.

“The pitch was very docile, but to be fair to the ground-staff they’ve done a great job with the weather we’ve had.

The pitch in Cardiff continued to improve for the batters as the match wore on, with all the bowlers struggling to slow the scoring or claim wickets. The draw gives Glamorgan 12 points and Gloucestershire eight from this first-round match.

Having started the day at 373 for 5, Gloucestershire still had work to do to make this game safe. Van Buuren resumed on 36 not out and brilliantly held things together on his way to his fifth first-class hundred for his county.

With support from Ollie Price, Zafar Gohar, Jack Taylor and Tom Price, van Buuren guided his team well past 500. That took Gloucestershire into a position where the draw was the most likely result and they had a chance, albeit a remote one, of pulling off a remarkable comeback win.

The real attacking intent came from Price, who backed up his excellent bowling performance in Glamorgan’s first innings with a 60-ball fifty. Given how this pitch just got better for batting as the match progressed, Gloucestershire were perhaps understandably cautious with their declaration. When it did come, they had set Glamorgan 331 runs to win in 46 overs.

With the required rate starting at above seven runs an over it was always going to be a tough ask for Glamorgan to chase this down, but captain David Lloyd certainly showed some intent when he opened their second innings. He had made it to 6 from five balls when he scooped a ball into the leg side off Price that was caught on the deep square leg boundary by Marcus Harris.

Looking to attack against the high-class spin of Zafar was more difficult. The Pakistani slow left-armer was once again given the new ball and he rewarded his captain with the wicket of Colin Ingram when he bowled him between bat and pad. That left Glamorgan at 35 for 2 with 38 overs left to be bowled.

When Kiran Carlson poked at a ball from Price that was well taken on the second attempt by Jack Taylor at first slip, it left Glamorgan 38 for 3 at the tea break.

With Gloucestershire now the team most likely to secure victory, they were impressive in the final session. Zafar was the most consistent threat, but Marchant de Lange was also beating the bat regularly. But the pitch won out in the end, with the two teams shaking hands for the draw with nine overs left unbowled.

Glamorgan have a two-week wait until their next match against Durham, with Gloucestershire set to take on Yorkshire in Bristol on Thursday.

Both teams will feel they have a lot of positives to take away from this game, especially given how the weather hampered pre-season preparations.

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