By Rich Jones
Glamorgan CCC got their 2016 County Championship campaign off to a disappointing start with a comprehensive 10-wicket defeat against Leicestershire at The SSE SWALEC.
The Welsh side were made to pay the price for a disastrous day three batting collapse which left the Foxes needing to chase down just 113.
They reached their victory target with ease just after lunch on the final day, with Paul Horton (64*) and Angus Robson (49*) finishing unbeaten.
It was a tough start to the season for Robert Croft’s team, with their third day woes with the bat ultimately making the difference as they were dismissed for just 191 in their second innings.
The sides were evenly matched at the halfway stage, with Glamorgan batting first and reaching a total of 348 thanks to half-centuries from Will Bragg, Chris Cooke, David Lloyd and Graham Wagg along with a useful 44 from Craig Meschede.
However, they were made to rue a number of missed chances in the field as Leicestershire put together a strong reply.
The hosts appeared to well-placed when young off-spinner Lloyd dismissed both Neil Dexter and Mark Cosgrove within the space of an over to reduce the visitors to 99-3.
Yet opener Horton reached a classy half-century whilst Niall O’Brien struck a vital 93 to lead their recovery.
With Wayne White and Clint McKay, who took six wickets in Glamorgan’s first innings, both passing the 50 mark the visitors eventually reached 427 before being dismissed.
Although the Foxes held a slender advantage, the match remained in the balance heading into the final two days.
But influential Australian McKay dismissed James Kettleborough and Will Bragg in quick succession – and when Chris Cooke joined them back in the pavilion they were left in severe trouble at 29-3.
Skipper Jacques Rudolph and young talent Aneurin Donald put together a recovery before their 60-run stand was brought to an end as Rudolph edged through to wicket-keeper O’Brien off the bowling of Charlie Shreck.
Donald, 20, was joined at the crease by Lloyd who built on his excellent first-innings knock to steady the ship.
However, a mix-up between the pair saw Lloyd run-out before Donald was also caught behind off the bowling of Shreck just five balls later.
When Meschede and Mark Wallace also departed quickly, they had lost four wickets for just two runs and needed a minor miracle to rescue their innings.
Michael Hogan and Wagg dug in with solid scores, but it was unfortunately not enough to put together a total to challenge Leicestershire entering the final day.
Their opening pair made no mistake to condemn Glamorgan to a disheartening defeat in their opening competitive fixture of the season which they will be keen to forget.
There were positives from Croft’s young side, with highly-rated duo Lloyd and Donald demonstrating their potential in the middle order whilst Wagg and Meschede proved their capabilities with both bat and ball.
Dutch seamer Tim vann der Gutgen claimed his first ever first-class scalp when he trapped Mark Pettini in front on day two as he showed promise on his debut.
However, it was their collective lapse in concentration on the third day which ensured they left with just five County Championship Division Two points.
Meanwhile, it was a fine performance from a much-improved Leicestershire to claim their first County Championship win in Cardiff since 2001.