By Connor Steel
HAMPSHIRE CRICKET made it two successive wins in the Royal London One-Day Cup on Sunday evening, thrashing Kent Spitfires by 163 runs at Beckenham with an one-sided exhibition of batting and bowling in the South East. It was Tom Prest who led the way as he scored a sensational 181 run innings working alongside an excellent century from Nick Gubbins, before bowler Jack Campbell took four wickets with pressure rising.
Put into bat Hampshire started well as they reached 49 without loss within nine overs before losing their first wicket; Nathan Gilchrist bowling Aneurin Donald for twenty-one to spark some relief. Home momentum was quickly dampened by Prest and Gubbins as they settled down any threat of collapse, whilst also maintaining their earlier run rate throughout an almost thirty-over pairing at the batting crease lasting nearly three hours.
Prest survived an early catching appeal whilst Gubbins passed his half century by cutting Joey Evison for 4 runs; the former reaching the same landmark by hitting George Lindle over the ropes with a massive six just five overs later. The pair weren’t done either as Gubbins’ century arrived in the 35th over and brought up the 225 score for Hampshire, Prest joining him to three figures as he glanced Gilchrist for two down the leg side.
The partnership was ended after 207 runs with two quick wickets from Hamid Qudri in the 38th over; seeing a double dismissal of both Gubbins (117) and new batsman Ben Brown (2) in just five balls. But any hopes of a Kent comeback at 260-3 were dismantled by Tom Albert’s thirty-five runs from 25 deliveries including 1 big maximum; Prest continuing to hit out with boundaries including 1 off Matthew Quinn to reach 150 unbeaten.
Navdeep Saini ended the Albert / Prest partnership on 106 runs as he tripped the former leg-before, whilst the latter continued to fray the bowlers with two huge maximums in the 48th over as Hampshire looked for four hundred runs. But some good death bowling slowed the run-rate slightly as Prest became the fifth and final wicket of the innings as he holed out to Gilchrist for 181; his side finishing the allocated overs on 396-5.
Kent made a steady start to their mammoth chase as they reached 45-0 before Ben Compton (24) was well caught off John Turner’s delivery in the tenth over. This sparked fellow opener Tawanda Muyeye into life with a huge maximum alongside three boundaries as he approached his half century, a mark that evaded him as he edged behind to Brown for forty to leave the hosts struggling on 86-2 either side of the first drinks interval.
The score soon became 113-5 as Campbell removed Ollie Robinson for 22 steady runs as Felix Organ then had Evison caught at second slip by Holland; Prest’s bowling gaining a similar dismissal as George Linde left for three in the twenty-third over. But there was some resistance from Grant Stewart as he stroked two firmly struck boundaries alongside captain Alex Blake who hit three big sixes as they attacked against the bowlers.
Surviving an appeal for catch behind, Blake continued his assault as he passed fifty runs with a smashed six off Prest; the batsman running out of partners as Stewart fell to an outstanding catch from Donald diving to his right. With this the captain became frustrated at the increasing run-rate and tried to accelerate the score even further, paying the price as he was caught in the deep for sixty-two; his side now 177-7 in the 29th over.
Qadri joined the crease and scored seven runs before he was caught off the bowling of Scott Currie, Gilchrist adding thirty-three off 34 balls including four boundaries alongside quick running as the home team passed 200. But the ninth wicket fell on 211 as Campbell removed Quinn, before he wrapped up the win by removing Gilchrist following his spell of big hitting resistance as Kent were all out for 233 with more than sixty balls left.
Hampshire sit second following this second successive Group B victory, with only Lancashire ahead of them having played three games. The team will now travel to the Isle of Wight on Tuesday morning for their home clash versus Northamptonshire, before going to Derbyshire on Friday (August 12), with more information on tickets and fixtures available from either the county website or the English Cricket Board link available online.
PICTURED BY HAMPSHIRE CRICKET: Prest leaves the field after match winning 181 runs against Kent.