Hampshire County Championship round-up: Frustrating draw and the Surrey saga

Ian Holland has so far starred for Hampshire in the 2021 County Championship.

Tail holds firm to deny Hampshire three in three

Hampshire were denied a third straight victory in the 2021 County Championship by a brave last wicket stand by Gloucestershire’s Dom Goodman and Josh Shaw. Brad Wheal had helped reduce Gloucester to 161 for 9 but the last pair remained steadfast for nearly 18 overs. Skipper James Vince shook hands on the result with 5 overs left. Hampshire and Gloucestershire were the only two teams to have won their opening two matches of the County Championship season.

Hampshire cash in again

It will surprise no one to hear that Hampshire won the toss and chose to bat. It will surprise even fewer to learn that Ian Holland held firm and cashed in. Holland and Alsop continued Hampshire’s fine form after the loss of Joe Weatherly (still the only Hampshire top 6 player yet to score a hundred this season). Alsop’s driving through the off-side was exemplary as always as Hampshire ticked along to 65 for 1 at lunch. More punchy shots all around the game, Holland posted his 50 and Alsop followed soon as Hampshire posted over 100 in the middle session.

With both players set, Holland drove through the off side to bring up his hundred, once again followed to his milestone closely by Alsop. Australian Dan Worrell trapped Holland in front for 114 to bring Sam Northeast to the crease. Jack Taylor had Northeast caught down the legside for 24 as Alsop and nightwatchman Mason Crane saw their side to 292 for 3 at the close.

Day two saw Hampshire put themselves in a dominant position, posting 470. Crane’s removal saw James Vince come to the crease to see Alsop taken down the legside for 149. If Gloucestershire thought they were back in the game then Vince and new batsman Liam Dawson put an end to any thoughts of a fight back. Vince drove down the ground in typical fashion, moving to 50 and taking the score over 400 in the process. Lewis McManus and Kyle Abbott went quickly before Dawson produced another gutsy innings (65) to help bring the innings to 470.

 

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Bracey and Brathwaite hang in there

As Gloucestershire began their reply, Mohamad Abbas picked up where he left off after his stunning Lords hat-trick, removing Christ Dent for just 6. West Indian captain and new signing Kraigg Brathwaite then put on 88 runs for the second wicket with England hopeful James Bracey. A thin edge from Brathwaite off the bowling of Dawson saw him depart for 60 as Bracey partnered Tom Lace. A slow but steady partnership followed. After 18 overs Lace went to Abbas (20) and Bracey was bowled by the same bowler for a patient 65.

TAUNTON, ENGLAND – APRIL 18: Kraigg Brathwaite of Gloucestershire plays a shot during Day Four of the LV= Insurance County Championship match between Somerset and Gloucestershire at The Cooper Associates County Ground on April 18, 2021 in Taunton, England. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Two more substantial partnerships followed as Ian Cockbain held firm as he crawled to 24, with Ryan Higgins the aggressor in this partnership and the following with George Hankins. Combined, with Higgins at the crease, Gloucester added 130 runs. Mason Crane and Liam Dawson then did as they do best, running through the tail to knock Gloucestershire over one run short of avoiding the follow on.

Gloucester saved by tail

The reply did not get off to the start that Gloucester would have hoped as Dawson and Brad Wheal removed Brathwaite, Dent and Bracey with the score on 50. Middle order contributions from Lace, Cockbain and Higgins saw Gloucester closer to a draw but a spectacular collapse of four wickets for five runs in less than nine overs  saw Hampshire turn the tables dramatically. Brad Wheal the main destroyer to finish with four wickets.

Needing just one wicket to wrap up the innings with a small target to chase, Hampshire were thwarted by Josh Shaw and Dominic Goodman who held on for nearly 20 overs before James Vince shook hands on the draw.

 

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A stern Surrey test

Hampshire were bowled out for just 92 in their first innings against Surrey in the County Championship. Lewis McManus and Ian Holland were the only two players to reach double digits in their first innings. Jordan Clark ran riot, picking up six wickets.

In reply, Surrey are currently 131-1, leading by 39 runs and looking on course for a big first-innings lead at the Kennington Oval. Hashim Amla and Rory Burns are both not out on half-centuries. Hampshire have enough quality in their bowling though, to fight back.

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