Glamorgan’s Championship match against Hampshire saw Viv Richards play a truly amazing innings, mixing controlled authority with some brutal strokeplay to steer the Welsh county to a memorable victory in the final over.
The easy-paced nature of the Southampton wicket was evident on the first day as Hampshire raced to 363-8, with Robin Smith hitting an impressive 153. However, persistent rain thwarted Glamorgan`s reply on the second day, so after two declarations and successful negotiations between the captains, Mark Nicholas and Alan Butcher, Glamorgan were left with 102 overs on the final day to make 364.
An asking rate of three and a half runs per over, and all day in which to chase the target, seemed a very generous one from the Hampshire captain. When Alan Butcher and Hugh Morris added 90 runs for the first wicket, Nicholas` boldness looked misplaced, but five wickets then fell in a disastrous spell after lunch as Glamorgan slumped to 139-5.
But Viv Richards, the great West Indian batsman, was still unbeaten, and with ex-Hampshire spinner Nigel Cowley offering stubborn support, the pair took their partnership into the final hour, by which time the target had been reduced to 112 in 20 overs. With Malcolm Marshall running in at full throttle, Viv Richards needed to draw on all of his experience to keep Glamorgan in the hunt, and to protect his partner.
Cowley eventually fell for a brave 58, before wicket-keeper Colin Metson came in to lend Richards useful support. Even so, the target was still twelve runs from the final over of the match, and with Marshall the bowler, and Metson on strike, it looked as if Richards` brave innings would be in vain. But off the first delivery, Metson nurdled the ball to slip and scampered what seemed an impossible single. Richards then hit the next two balls for 4 and 6, with the latter being a savage blow, sending a good length ball from Marshall completely out of the ground.
But Richards` was still not finished, as he stroked the next ball effortlessly to the boundary to see the Welsh county home with two balls to spare. He left the field, unbeaten on 164 with 17 fours and 5 sixes, graciously acknowledging the applause from all of the players, and a standing ovation from the crowd, enraptured by the sheer brilliance and audacity of the West Indian batting maestro.