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It proved though to be a frustrating day for all concerned and for those who thought that Robert would soon pick up his three scalps, it was time for patience. It was James Harris who stole the headlines in the pre-lunch ses- sion – a young man half Robert’s age, and someone who was not even born when the off-spinner claimed his first wicket for Glamorgan by dismissing Graham Thorpe in Glamorgan’s Championship match against Surrey at The Oval in August 1989.


Harris returned the fine figures of 9-7-8-0, repeatedly beating both the outside and inside edge of the bat, before Croft after 28 overs play entered the attack at the Pavilion End. He began with a sequence of four maidens con- ceding his first run from his 29th before at 2.17pm snaffling his 998th victim as left-hander Matthew Boyce edged a delivery into Mark Wallace’s gloves.


After thirteen overs, Robert then turned his right ankle over as he tried to stop a ball driven back to him and for a few anxious moments he received attention from Glamorgan’s physiotherapist on the boundary’s edge. There was an audible sigh of relief from the packed pavilion enclosure when Robert returned to the field, but after five more wicket-less overs, he was given a breather. Robert duly returned twenty overs later, again at the Pavilion End, although his fourth ball of his comeback spell was harshly dealt with by Jacques du Toit who lofted him over long-on for six. But eight deliveries later, the spinner gained his revenge as the South African gave Wallace his second catch off the old warhorse.


With almost fifty minutes play remaining, it looked as if the scene was set for Croft to reach his record before the close of play, but the bottles of champagne had to remain on ice as the Leicestershire batsmen stoutly resisted until the close of play, leaving Croft tantalisingly on 999.There was a further twist the following morning as rain washed out the morning session, and by the time the skies had cleared, there were four television film crews, a posse of photographers and journalists, plus hundreds of diehard Glamorgan supporters in the Swansea ground as the players walked out at 1.40pm to resume the contest.


Harris opened up at the Mumbles Road End with Croft continuing at the Pavilion End, and the photographers were soon snapping away whilst the cameras zoomed in on the 40 year-old to ensure that the magic moment was not missed. There were a couple of stifled appeals in his first few overs, but then – at 2.15pm - with the fifth ball of his fifth over came the moment everyone had been waiting for as Wayne White got a thin edge down the leg-side and Wallace completed another catch.


With great sportsmanship, White walked immediately without the umpire having to raise his finger and his depar- ture was the cue for massed celebrations. Out in the middle, his team-mates ran to embrace the spinner whilst all around the ground, the supporters released their pent-up emotions by standing to applaud another great moment in Glamorgan’s history at the Swansea ground.


Then there was a great moment of poignancy as Don Shepherd, the last man to take 1,000 wickets for Glamorgan and the man who had coached and mentored Robert from an early age walked out to the middle to formally con- gratulate him, together with Club President Peter Walker who was carrying a glass of champagne. By a strange quirk of fate, ‘Shep` had also taken his 1,000th wicket for Glamorgan at the St. Helen’s ground in 1960. Nine years later he had claimed his 2,000th wicket in all cricket at Sophia Gardens as Peter Walker had taken a catch off the Shep’s bowling during Glamorgan’s Championship-clinching victory with Worcestershire – a feat which had seen Glamorgan Secretary Phil Clift run out to the middle with a glass of champagne.


Flashback to 1969 – Don shepherd celebrates taking his 2,000th wicket for Glamorgan.


19


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