1992: Croft spins Glamorgan to a last-gasp victory.

Robert Croft, seen at Cardiff in 2007 against Derbyshire. Photo Credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archives.

This early season game, played on a slow, turning Swansea pitch, saw Robert Croft display his match-winning qualities as an off-spinner. Many shrewd judges had forecasted a bright future for the 21 year-old who, from a young age, had been coached and advised by the wily Don Shepherd. The apprentice more than brought a smile to the face of the old sorcerer, as he guided Glamorgan to their first win of the 1992 season, and one of the narrowest-ever victories in the club`s history.

The prelude to Croft`s match-winning spell was an innings of 127 off 129 by Viv Richards, during century partnerships with Matthew Maynard and Tony Cottey. Glamorgan declared on 346-5, before Croft took six wickets in Warwickshire`s first innings, and at one stage, it looked as if the visitors might even follow-on, but some determined batting by Andy Moles and some hefty blows by Neil Smith reduced Warwickshire`s deficit to 98.

On the final day, Glamorgan extended their lead to 265 before declaring for a second time in the match. Left with 72 overs, Warwickshire were soon in trouble as opening bowlers Steve Watkin and Steve Bastien removed Jason Ratcliffe and Andy Lloyd. Things became even worse early in Robert Croft`s spell as the young off-spinner bowled Neil Smith and Andy Moles to leave Warwickshire reeling on 34-4.

Roger Twose and Dermot Reeve then shared a gritty partnership, but one that was not without some luck at times, as Reeve unleased some unorthodox shots against the young off-spinner. Robert reaped the reward for his steadiness, dismissing Twose and Michael Burns in quick succession. Paul Smith then lent Reeve some valuable support, and their stand of 69 in 30 overs seemed to have saved the game for the visitors.

But Croft had the last laugh, having Reeve well caught by Steve Watkin with just seven overs to go. Paul Booth soon followed, and Warwickshire entered the final over of the game, to be bowled by Robert Croft, on 171-8. The young off-spinner kept his nerve, having Paul Smith caught at short leg with his fourth delivery, and then with his next ball, Tim Munton was trapped leg before to give Croft career-best figures of 14/169, and Glamorgan a quite enthralling victory.

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