Gloucestershire beaten as Hawks fly to away victory

By Connor Steel

HAMPSHIRE HAWKS picked up a second straight victory in the Vitality Blast as they travelled away to Gloucestershire on Friday evening; comfortably sealing their five-wicket success with three overs left after a brilliant all-round display in this southern group stage encounter watched by nearly four thousand supporters at the Seat Unique Stadium in Bristol.

The away bowlers made fine progress as they reduced Gloucestershire to 15-2 from just twenty deliveries; Chris Wood removing Miles Hammond (3) and then drawing a bad shot from James Bracey (1). In response Cameron Bancroft and Beau Webster pushed their team beyond the ‘powerplay’ without further losses; the former soon falling to make it 60-3.

Ben Charlesworth fell two balls later as he was run out by James Vince, before Jack Turner (3) quickly became the fifth wicket as his stumps were splatted by James Fuller to leave the score on 65-5. The collapse continued in the thirteenth over as Michael Neser got control; the bowler seeing the ends of Webster (28) and Marchant de Lange (1) in four balls.

Graeme van Buuren and Matt Taylor propelled Gloucestershire past the one hundred mark after coming together at 74-7; the latter blasting three huge maximums in his twenty-seven from 14 balls. He soon edged Fuller behind the stumps to make it 116-8 whilst Turner removed David Payne (3) and van Buuren (22) in two balls; finishing this innings on 124.

Hampshire initally struggled in their chase of 125 as they lost the first wicket in just five deliveries: Payne bowling a low yorker into the stumps of Ben McDermott for one. Vince added two finely hit boundaries as he reached ten runs before falling to the same bowler who furthermore trapped Nick Gubbins for fourteen to leave the visitors on 31-3 in their reply.

Joe Weatherley calmed down the nerves for the Hawks with a steady approach that dominated a partnership with Toby Albert that lasted until the middle overs; the former adding twenty-four runs including multiple boundaries from 25 balls. However the experienced batsman was unable to build upon this promising start as he was trapped LBW by de Lange.

Albert (41*) partnered together with Fuller (24) and the pair began to rapidly increase the run rate; quickly moving their target below fifty as Ajeet Singh Dale in particular struggling to stem an acceleration. This duo brought the scores level unscathed before Singh Dale removed Fuller but Benny Howell slammed over a boundary to bring upon a calm victory.

Victory means that the Hawks sit third in the southern group behind Kent Spitfires on net-run-rate and Surrey who have played one match more at the top. They now face a hectic week with three games beginning with Somerset on Sunday afternoon at Taunton before travelling for Glamorgan on Thursday evening and finally Middlesex on Friday night (7pm).

PICTURED BY GLOUCESTERSHIRE CRICKET: Hampshire bowler celebrates a wicket as batsman starts to walk off.