By Connor Steel
HAMPSHIRE HAWKS made it four wins and four defeats in the Vitality Blast from their trip to Cardiff on Friday evening, winning by nine runs against Glamorgan at Sophia Gardens. Brad Wheal was the hero for the visitors with an outstanding spell of death bowling that ultimately won this low scoring contest on a slow outfield, taking five wickets at regular intervals after the away batters had fought hard to create a target that proved just enough to win under dry but occasionally breezy Welsh skies.
Choosing to bowl first Glamorgan’s bowlers were brilliant inside the powerplay, with Prem Sisodiya and Michael Hogan proving difficult to hit away for boundaries as the ball played low on the crease. This led to the dismissal of Ben McDermott as he tried to sweep a shot but ending up hitting his stumps for six runs off ten runs as Hogan celebrated, Tom Prest joining the Australian in the pavilion as he hooked a shot into the hands of Colin Ingram off Sisodiya to end the first six overs of batting on 32-2.
These two wickets brought Joe Weatherley alongside James Vince, the pair attempting to put some middle-over pressure on the bowlers. And they did just that with a series of boundaries as the pair milked James Harris for twenty-nine runs from two overs; helping the Hawks pass the fifty mark and beyond in a seven over spell. However Andrew Salter became the partnership breaker on 49 runs as he bowled Vince for a one-a-ball forty four runs, before smashing the stumps of Ross Whitely for six from eight balls either side of drinks; leaving Hampshire on 93-4 with four and a half overs left to play.
But Weatherley was still at the crease and he proved to be a stable feature with no further wickets against tight death bowling from Glamorgan; adding two boundaries as he reached 46 runs to become Hampshire’s top scorer of the innings. He was accompanied well by the fluent Toby Albert, who smashed one four and the only maximum, as the young batsman added 21 off fifteen; Hampshire reaching 134-4 from their allocated overs in front of a growing crowd as the temperatures dropped slightly.
With a catchable target of 135 Glamorgan made an awful start coring just two runs from the opening over from Chris Wood, who bowled David Lloyd (1) for the 1st wicket. Ingram then joined Sam Northeast at the crease the pair limped through the powerplay; struggling to make any real impacts on run rate despite three boundaries from the former, who became Wheal’s first wicket for sixteen edging behind the stumps to make the score 29-2 after six overs. This brought Kiran Carlson to the crease as he began to help seize control of their run chase; hitting two fours and a six alongside boundaries from Northeast.
But just as the hosts grew confident Wheal struck twice in two balls at the end of the eleventh over, removing Carlson for 22 runs and then Edward Byrom as he departed for a golden duck. Chris Cooke (18) joined with Northeast as they hit thirty-one runs in just over four overs including three boundaries with the pressure truly on the batsmen; which proved to be a huge factor in their dismissals after restrictive bowling. It was spinner Mason Crane who did the damage as he removed both batsmen with sharp catches off his bowling, with the dismissal of Northeast arguably the turning point for Glamorgan in the match.
Salter (2) was furthermore dismissed by Wood after drinks, with the bowler adding his third wicket as he removed Harris following some big shots. These came from Dan Douthwaite as he threatened to see Glamorgan over the line with twenty-one runs from 16 with three fours; the dangerous all-rounder attempting one shot too many as Wheal smashed his stumps with a yorker to leave the score on 124-9. And with ten needed off two balls victory was secured as Wheal completed his five wicket haul for just 38 runs; Sisodiya looping into the sky and being caught from Dawson at point to spark away celebrations.
Despite the victory Hampshire stay fifth in the South Group after eight matches played with eight points, one behind fourth place Gloucestershire in their pursuit of a quarter-final position in just a few weeks’ time. The team will now turn their attentions to County Championship action as Hampshire play Yorkshire from Sunday morning in their first red-ball match since May; before returning to T-20 with home matches versus Kent Spitfires on Friday night and Surrey just two days later at the Ageas Bowl.
PICTURED BY GLAMORGAN CRICKET: Batsman departs as Hawks celebrate a late wicket in narrow win.