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Glamorgan Coach Grant Bradburn Proud Of County’s Record-Breaking Draw

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By David Parsons

New Glamorgan coach Grant Bradburn has praised his team for their part in a record-breaking Vitality County Championship opener against Middlesex – even though the game meandered towards a tame draw.

Middlesex allrounder Ryan Higgins recorded his highest first-class score of 221 as the game drifted to an inevitable draw at Lord’s.

The home side’s 655 was their best score at Lord’s, the highest Championship score on the ground, and their best against Glamorgan.

But the match will be remembered for Sam Northeast’s ground-record 335 not out.

Bradburn said: “It’s been an excellent four days for us, to get four days under our belt at the home of cricket is so valuable in the context of the season, after we were underdone coming into the game.

“Sam’s taking in all in, it’s a special feeling in the dressing room and a privilege to witness a history-making innings, he batted superbly.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the efforts in the field, the energy was superb to keep Middlesex to three runs an over.

“There was a lot of talk about the Kookaburra ball and the flat pitch, but we had opportunities. Using the Kookaburra ball in the Championship is going to help bowlers to become better.”

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Higgins’ epic effort, which contained 21 fours and two sixes, was his first double-hundred and encompassed a ninth-wicket partnership of 114 with Tom Helm, who also posted a career-best 64.

Middlesex’s total of 655 was the second largest in their history, with Glamorgan offspinner Kiran Carlson taking 3 for 147 while Craig Miles and Colin Ingram claimed two wickets apiece.

But a share of the spoils had always seemed virtually guaranteed on a batting-friendly pitch where only 15 wickets fell in the course of four days and Glamorgan reached 31 for 2 in their second innings before the captains shook hands.

With Middlesex requiring just 11 at the start of play to take the follow-on out of the equation, a positive result looked an improbable long shot and the visitors duly opened proceedings with gentle spin from both ends.

Ingram collected a wicket in the seventh over of the day, taking a routine return catch to dismiss Josh De Caires for 20, while Toby Roland-Jones posted an identical score before he was caught behind swishing at Jamie McIlroy.

That was at least some reward for the Glamorgan left-armer, who bowled consistently on a surface that gave no assistance to any of the frontline seamers, medium-pacers or spinners shuffled around by visiting captain Northeast.

Meanwhile, Higgins advanced beyond 150 by steering Mir Hamza for an all-run four to third man and the only remaining question was whether the tail could supply their team-mate with enough support to give him a crack at the double-century.

Henry Brookes departed shortly before lunch, chipping Miles into the hands of midwicket, but Helm stuck around and unfurled some eye-catching strokes, including a straight-driven boundary off Zain-ul-Hassan.

Helm also pumped Ingram over mid-on for six en route to his fourth first-class half-century and the same bowler was on the receiving end again as Higgins reached 200 from 350 balls, steering him off the back foot to the midwicket boundary.

That landmark prompted the pair to throw the bat and Higgins thrashed another six to raise the hundred partnership before Carlson finally ended his lengthy stay at the crease, tempting the double-centurion out of his ground for Chris Cooke to take off the bails.

Helm became the keeper’s third victim, snapped up off a bottom edge to end an innings that had lasted 211 overs and two balls on the stroke of tea.

There was still time after the interval for the luckless Zain – caught behind cheaply off Ethan Bamber in the first half-hour on day one – to be dismissed in identical fashion for just 2 second time around, before Leus du Plooy claimed his first wicket for Middlesex in the final over of the game, having Billy Root caught at slip.

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