Northamptonshire were some way below their best on the opening day of the LV= County Championship encounter with Glamorgan yet still had the better of it.
They won the toss to give themselves an initial advantage, choose to bowl first, and their five-man seam attack then proceeded to serve up a fairly mediocre performance that was some way short of the standards that have been set in previous weeks.
Yet this assessment will look out of kilter when the scorecard is given the once over and the sole reason for this was provided by the visitors.
In what can only be described as a limp display, the Welsh outfit squandered a solid start in a ‘we’ve got nothing to play for’ style that did them no favours.
There was a smattering of misfortune - how else do you describe two batsmen caught down the leg-side in successive deliveries - and a few decent deliveries but not much else on a dry, well-grassed but slow surface and the end result of 241 was way below, at least 100 probably, par.
Fifty minutes after lunch, with Murray Goodwin and Chris Cooke cruising along with little difficulty, the decision to insert the opposition appeared to be the wrong one.
The green hue on the 22 yards, an unnecessarily beefed-up seam-bowling contingent and Glamorgan’s best bowler, Michael Hogan, at home with his feet up ahead of the YB40 semi-finals, meant there was only going to be one choice when Mark Wallace called incorrectly.
But if you’re going to give your attack first use of the conditions then they need to be on the money and that wasn’t what came to pass, in fact that was the theme all day.
Both the lines and lengths were awry throughout but if those it’s being directed at are unable to take advantage then whose problem is it?
This wasn’t the case for the first session as Gareth Rees and Will Bragg put on a confident 74 for the first wicket which was ended when, shortly after Alex Wakely had dropped a sitter at square-leg to reprieve Bragg, his partner edged Andrew Hall to second slip.
Bragg followed a few minutes later when Steven Crook had him taken at the wicket and that was it until 2.30pm.
Goodwin, who has been in prime form, settled into a good rhythm and Cooke was being dragged along before the latter contrived to hit his own stumps off Crook with the score at 142.
Ninety minutes later when the players trooped off for tea it was a very sickly 224-8 with Jim Allenby the last hope of a decent total being posted.
David Willey started the rot with two wickets in as many deliveries, both rather fortunately caught down the leg-side with Goodwin and Mark Wallace on the receiving end.
Graham Wagg, hardly best known for permanence at the crease, loosely drove to cover point, John Glover saw his edge parried to first slip via David Murphy’s gloves and Andrew Salter’s attempted pull was skewed to mid-off.
Hall spilled a relatively simple chance at slip to let off Dean Cosker shortly before the interval but it hardly mattered as Trent Copeland, who had been off colour and not his usual metronomic self, saw off both Allenby and last man Mike Reed.
The opening exchanges of the hosts’ reply aped those of the morning as the runs flowed relatively freely with little control being maintained and when play came to an end, 85 had been wiped off the deficit and if the batting order get their heads down tomorrow, this contest should be well under their control.