1993: Glamorgan win the Sunday League title.

Tony Cottey and Viv Richards sprint back to the Canterbury pavilion after the winning runs had been struck as Glamorgan defeated Kent to win the Sunday League title. Photo Credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archives.

September 1993 saw Glamorgan secure their first piece of silverware for almost a quarter of a century as the Welsh county defeated Kent at Canterbury to win the Sunday League.

For several years, the Welsh county had hinted at being a useful one-day unit. The acquisition of Roland Lefebvre from Somerset gave their attack an extra dimension, and his signing yielded immediate dividends as Lefebvre delivered some miserly spells with the new ball. Another factor was that the other young players had reached maturity, and under Hugh Morris` enterprising captaincy, the Glamorgan side acquired the habit of winning one-day games early in June. By the end of August, they had became addicted to the taste of success, putting together twelve consecutive victories, and completely belying their pre-season odds of 500-1.

Their success was also based on consistent bating, with Hugh Morris leading by example with 737 runs during the season, and the astute Glamorgan captain formed a fine opening partnership with Steve James. Their successful partnership was in stark contrast to other counties who promoted tailenders as pinch-hitters to take advantage of the new rules for just two outfielders in the opening fifteen overs. But Morris and James showed the virtue of having two specialist batsmen to exploit the gaps in the field. With Matthew Maynard at number three, Viv Richards at number four and Adrian Dale at number five, and Tony Cottey coming in at six, Glamorgan had a highly effective top order.

On the bowling front, Steve Watkin and Roland Lefebvre proved to be amongst the most economical of new ball attacks. They were then supported by the clever off-cutters of Steve Barwick and the subtle off-breaks of Robert Croft, who tricked and teased the opponents, and more often than not, harried them into taking risks and to perish to a rash stroke.

As in the Championship-winning seasons of 1948 and 1969, Glamorgan`s bowlers were supported by some fine fielding, and they owed a huge debt of gratitude to their enthusiastic fielders, many of whom pulled off some stunning catches. At 41, Viv Richards was often the oldest player on the field, yet he belied his years with some superb ground fielding, athletic catches and running out several opponents who foolishly thought they could steal a run to the old warhorse!

Glamorgan had never finished above fifth place in the Sunday League, and during the previous three seasons, they had been rooted near the base of the table, winning 14 games and losing 43. This dismal record was dispelled by a truly collective effort during 1993, and their fine batting, superb bowling and outstanding fielding saw Glamorgan to the unfamiliar, heady heights of Sunday League leaders in early July.

For the next ten weeks, they remained at the top of the table, and were in a dog-fight with Kent by winning every game from June 6th until September 12th. Their winning sequence ended amongst heavy rain at Cardiff after Essex had been reduced to 7-2. This washout left Glamorgan level on points with Kent, but behind them on run-rate. By a quirk of fate, the two counties met at Canterbury on the final Sunday of the season, in a head-to-head showdown for the title.

From an early hour, the St. Lawrence ground was buzzing with Welsh voices, eager to see Glamorgan, at long last, bring an end to their dismal record in one-day cricket,  and also to cheer on Viv Richards as the great West Indian cricketer brought the curtain down on his glittering career. They were not disappointed on both counts, as Glamorgan recorded a famous victory which even the most skilful of scriptwriters would have been hard pressed to devise for poignancy.

Kent won the toss and on a slow, low pitch had reached a quite promising 168-4 with ten overs left. It seemed as if the Welshmen would be chasing a target well over 200. But Steve Watkin and Roland Lefebvre induced a late order collapse which saw Kent falter and lose 5 wickets for 14 runs, leaving Glamorgan a target of 201.

Alan Igglesden raised Kent`s spirits by removing Steve James with just 6 runs on the board, but Hugh Morris and Adrian Dale skilfully saw off the new ball attack, adding 78 for the second wicket, before both fell attempting to force the pace. When Matthew Maynard was trapped l.b.w., Kent seemed to be in the ascendancy with Glamorgan on 141-4. But Viv Richards had come in to a spontaneous standing ovation from the crowd of 12,000, and with Tony Cottey quietly playing himself in, the pair kept Glamorgan`s hopes alive.

Even so, there were still a few heart-stopping moments, as Viv Richards was firstly hit on the chest by Duncan Spencer, Kent`s Anglo-Australian pace bowler, and when the West Indian was caught off a bouncer, it looked as if Spencer had dealt a match-winning blow for his adopted county. But the umpire called no-ball, to a roar of delight from the Welsh supporters, and Richards remained at the crease.

This was the defining moment of an enthralling match, as from this point on, everything went in Glamorgan`s favour, as the Cottey-Richards partnership grew, and Kentish spirits started to wilt. The pair added 60 in ten overs before Cottey top-edged Spencer high over the head of wicket-keeper Steve Marsh, and as the ball sped to the unguarded boundary, the two Glamorgan batsmen ran off, punching the air with sheer delight. It was not long before both the champagne and the tears were flowing in the Glamorgan dressing room, and the city of Canterbury witnessed a heady night of jubilant celebrations by the Welsh team and their joyous supporters.

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