Island thriller as Hampshire seal win

By Connor Steel

HAMPSHIRE CRICKET made it three successive wins within the Royal London One-Day Cup on Tuesday as they beat Northamptonshire Steelbacks by eleven runs at Newclose; building on two victories over Kent and Worcestershire over recent days in the 50-over competition. And this new success was thanks to Jack Campbell as the bowler took 3-17 as the visitors collapsed in the humidity by losing their last five wickets for just thirteen runs, having looked in total control of their chase of a low score for Nick Gubbins’ young team.

Having chosen to bat first on the Isle of Wight, Hampshire made a poor start as they lost their first 2 wickets in the first three overs; Jack White seeing Aneurin Donald (7) caught at slip and Ben Sanderson taking a big scalp of Gubbins (1) six balls later. This brought Ben Brown to the crease alongside Tom Prest with the two batsman putting on a quickfire forty-five runs before the wicketkeeper fell for 16 to a low bouncing delivery from Nathan Back; the score 53-3 midway through the eleventh over in temperatures now over 27 degrees.

But Prest (51) together with Fletcha Middleton defied the new ball and soaring heat as they added fifty-one runs in just eight overs; the former peppering the offside as he reached the 50 mark off 53 balls before being dismissed by Alex Russell. And after Middleton (35) had put together a small partnership of almost thirty with Felix Organ (12), the pair were both dismissed in the same over by Rob Keogh; trapping the former LBW as he also caught his fellow all-rounder off his own bowling to reduce the scores to 132-6 after twenty-six overs.

Toby Albert hit fifteen quickfire runs before becoming Keogh’s third wicket before Keith Barker (38) together with Scott Currie (12) added a forty-two partnership including several delicately-hit boundaries as Hampshire looked to post a score of 200+. But Northamptonshire prevented this with three wickets in four runs as White removed Barker and Campbell (0) in quick succession, sandwiching the dismissal of Currie caught at slip off Buck’s bowling as the hosts were reduced to 199 all out midway through the forty-first over of the normal 50.

Not that Northamptonshire started brilliantly in their chase of exactly two hundred as Barker took the wicket of Ricardo Vasconcelos with the second ball, whilst the all-rounder added the dismissal of Will Young (14) to his hit-list as the visitors reached 25-2 after four wickets. But a fifty-two run partnership between Keogh and Emilo Gay looked to turn the tide towards the visitors who now looked in control against the new ball despite the wicket of the latter to Currie for twenty three; the score now 77-3 midway through the 11th over of batting.

Away dominance continued with Gus Miller joining Keogh at the crease, the pair pushing the team past 100 runs by spreading the field; adding sixty-six runs in eleven overs before the former was removed by Gubbins for 31 including three boundaries. This fourth wicket saw a five over spell in which the run-rate slowed before Ben Curran (3) became the fifth dismissal caught and bowled by Currie; Keogh passing his half century and advancing to 74 not out in a small partnership with James Sales (12) as the batters closed in on their target.

But a dramatic change in momentum came when Currie removed Keogh as the batsman edged to point, the away side still needing 23 runs with four wickets left at 177-6. His partner Campbell then thrived on the away pressure as he removed Buck and Sanderson in successive balls three overs later, before White hit two fine boundaries to make things nervous for both sides. However it was Hampshire who got the win as Campbell ended Sales’ innings and White was dismissed by John Turner 5 balls later, sealing a stunning Island victory.

Joyful scenes unfolded in front of over 2000 supporters in gloriously warm sunshine, who had braved a long day of energy-zapping heat to watch the first Hampshire Cricket encounter played on the Isle of Wight since summer 2019. But Gubbins and his emerging team will no doubt be turning their attentions to their next two matches as they hope to continue their 100% record in the competition, travelling to Derbyshire on Friday at The Incora County Ground before hosting Lancashire on Sunday; both fifty-over games due to start at 11am.

PICTURED BY HAMPSHIRE CRICKET (GETTY IMAGES): Home players walk off field after sealing victory against Northamptonshire on Tuesday afternoon, their first Isle of Wight encounter since summer of 2019.