Durham thrash Hants to end cup dreams

By Connor Steel / Photograph by Hampshire Cricket

HAMPSHIRE CRICKET exited the Royal London One-Day Cup on Thursday afternoon following a thrashing by Durham, who won by nine wickets to reach the semi-finals at Emirates Riverside Stadium.

It comes despite a career best 79 runs for visiting Felix Organ, who helped his side to a restricted 225-9 off their 50 overs after a brilliant recovery from 65-6 as the home side dominated from the moment they won the toss.

After being inserted Hampshire started well and measured as they reached 19-0 off five overs; but they did lose their first wicket three balls later as Tom Prest played onto his own stumps for 10 runs, giving Chris Rushworth his 750th Durham dismissal across all three formats. It brought Nick Gubbins and wicketkeeper Tom Alsop together, with the two pushing Hants over the 50-run mark without any further loss; this included three boundaries from Gubbins as the run rate began to increase.

But Durham came roaring back as Rushworth took another two wickets in the same over. He had Alsop caught as the batsman fired a shot into the hands of captain Scott Borthwick before drawing an edge of Joe Weatherly three balls later for a duck. A fourth wicket for the home side and Rushworth himself came as Ian Holland was clean-bowled having been beaten for pace, which sparked another two wickets in two balls on the start of the next  over.

It was Paul van Meekeren who did the damage for the home side in this 16th over, removing Gubbins as he played onto his stumps and was dismissed for 24 runs off 25 balls. On the very next ball the bowler took his second wicket as James Fuller’s looping shot was caught in the deep cover region by Sean Dickson running back; which left Hampshire struggling at 65-6 on a pitch that looked beneficial for bowling.

Durham were cock-a-hoop at their brilliant start and continued to probe as Rushworth finished his allocated 10 overs with figures of 4-37, with many balls narrowly beating the edges of Felix Organ and Fletcha Middleton. The two batsmen stemmed the tide of wickets with a partnership of 35 runs in a 10 over spell, slowly accumulating runs before the latter was deemed to be out LBW to give Borthwick his first wicket of the game. This left the visitors on 100-7 in the 28th over, heading for what appeared to be an invetiable defeat.

However Durham hadn’t taken into account the dangerous Organ, who hit five fours and two sixes as he recorded his maiden first class century from 87 balls and was soon dismissed seven overs later for a career best 79. A stand of 97 was shared with bowler Tom Scriven, who himself scored a personal best 42 runs made off 38 singles before being dismissed with just seven balls left. This big partnership saw Hampshire bat out their 50 overs with a final total of 225-9, which may have been under-par but at least they had a notable target to defend from what was an awful position 34 overs earlier.

And Hampshire couldn’t have got off to a better start as they removed the dangerous Alex Lees in the third over, with the experienced left-handed opener scooping a great ball from James Fuller into the gloves of the wicketkeeper. This left Durham on 17-1 and a probing start seemed to be working with limited runs scored in the first six overs. But sadly this early momentum was squashed by brilliant batting and shot-play from the home side.

Graham Clark accompanied his captain Borthwick with a century partnership off just 115 balls, become Durham’s highest One Day run-scorer this season by smashing a six over the leg side to reach 50 runs with the score on 79-1 off 22 overs. His partner and skipper soon joined the half-century mark (ninth overall), putting in a display of guile and patience in defence of a strong Hampshire attack led by Kyle Abbott.

Clark then began to dominate as he approached a brilliant century off just 108 balls, hitting the boundary with his 14th four of his innings to make the landmark; which capped a third such score in the tournament so far. His partner Borthwick was solid in absorbing pressure down the other end as he scored 71 unbeaten runs off 100 balls; giving the opener the licence to attack and he duly delivered in almost-lighting speed as the two passed the 200-plus mark partnership. This was the highest second-wicket partnership in Durham’s One Day records, which helped them chase down the target with 58 balls left to bowl (9.2 overs) and confirm their place in the next stage.

It must be said that Hampshire didn’t bowl badly, but unfortunately didn’t recreate the extra swing as sunshine basked the stadium in an opposite weather system to one earlier in the day. The Southampton-based side also came up against two brick walls and couldn’t build on their positive start, with Graham Clark deservedly winning the man of the match. The opener had smashed 141 unbeaten runs off just 140 deliveries, including 19 fours and two sixes to get a strike rate of just over a run a ball with Hants unable to control the run-flow.

This result sadly means that Hampshire have exited the Royal One-Day Cup after finishing sixth in their group; winning just three of their eight games with four defeats. Although a blow to fans wanting to see their side reach the semi-finals of a competition they have recent experience of winning, Hampshire are still firing on two elements of county cricket that could go either way in late August.

Following almost two weeks off for a mid-season break and Hundred Finals, Hampshire will be travelling to Trent Bridge to play Nottinghamshire; this match on August 25 being the quarter final of the T20 blast.

If successful they will earn the right to contest ‘finals day’ against three other teams, with the semi-finals and finals to be played in a triple header at the Home of Cricket on September 18. In the meantime the Hawks will host Yorkshire in the four-day County Championship on Bank Holiday Monday, with four straight games in 22 days before a potential Bob Willis Trophy victory in late September.

Result: Durham (228-1) beat Hampshire (225-9) by nine wickets