By Connor Steel
HAMPSHIRE CRICKET suffered their first defeat since late June in all competitions as they travelled away to Glamorgan on Friday, comfortably losing by a margin of seven wickets against their dominant hosts in Neath and thus ending their perfect start to the Royal London One Day Cup group stages after five earlier victories. And it was a deserved victory for the Welsh hosts despite notable absences caused by the Hundred as they restricted Nick Gubbins’ team to an under-par score before chasing the target down with eighteen overs left.
The hosts elected to bowl first and took their opening wicket in the 5th over as Ben Brown (2) was bowled by Dan Douthwaite, who also trapped Tom Prest LBW for six to leave the score 35-2 in the ninth over; Gubbins scoring the majority of these early runs. But even the captain couldn’t control a slowing run rate and fallings of two more batting partners before the 1st drinks break; Aneurin Donald (7) run out from a direct throw and Andrew Gorvin trapping Fletcha Middleton in front (4) to leave the scores 54-4 on a difficult looking surface.
Toby Albert joined Gubbins at the crease and scored nineteen runs in their stand worth forty-five including 2 brilliantly executed drives, but failed to convert this promising start as he was dismissed by James Weighell caught in the deep for 99-5. In deep trouble Ian Holland came together with his captain amidst a slow period as the visitors scored just 29 runs from ten overs before a flurry of boundaries upped the run rate; a stand of 72 runs ended when Gubbins was dismissed for ninety-three caught off the short bowling of Kiran Clarkson.
Keith Barker (4) was quickly trapped LBW by Prem Sisodiya and Gorvin removed Currie for 8 as Hampshire were reduced to 197-8. However the Welsh side were unable to stop a late counter attack from Holland who scored five fours and a big single six in his sixty three runs off 59 balls, dragging his side beyond the 200 run target mark; the minimum they wanted to score given their slow wicket-laden start. And they finished on 228-9 from their fifty runs with John Turner run out off the final ball for 12, coming just minutes after a brilliant six.
Chasing 229 to keep their own quarter-final ambitions alive, Glamorgan made an awful start as Chris Cooke edged behind to Brown to seal a five ball duck. This left the Welsh side on 7-1 and fearing a nervous period, but this was ended by Tom Bevan alongside Colin Ingram at the crease; the pair showing a mixture of quick running and boundaries as they saw off the new ball to reach fifty runs. And they weren’t done there either as they counter-attacked with Bevan, born in Cardiff, brilliantly leading the chase as he scored runs everywhere.
The twenty-two year old opener seemed to be batting on a different pitch, reaching his half century off just 49 balls by smashing Jack Campbell for a huge six. And 40 balls later he smashed another maximum to record a maiden ton before progressing to 134, with Ingram batting solidly down the other end playing second fiddle as he also reached his fifty off 54 deliveries to help Glamorgan towards their target. Overall the pair added a total of 203 runs in just 27 overs, including twenty-three fours and 10 maximums against the stunned attack.
But sadly Bevan couldn’t remain at the crease until the end as Hampshire didn’t give up, Currie removing the unarguable man-of-the-match for 134 runs off 103 deliveries as he edged behind to leave the scores on 210-2. And although this did become 220-3 when Currie had Carson caught for 6 off seven playing a high looped drive, Ingram (78*) and Billy Root (1*) sealed a crushing home victory without any further wickets; the crucial winning effort coming from the former with almost eighteen and a half overs remaining of their allocated fifty.
Despite this defeat Hampshire have in-fact qualified for the quarter finals either side of the upcoming Bank Holiday weekend, courtesy of Lancashire’s victory over Kent on Friday. Both teams have now reached the last eight with the Red Rose now top in Group B having played one game more, with Gubbins’ side needing two victories over Essex at the Ageas Bowl on Sunday and away at Yorkshire two days later to seal a home match; which would be a fine achievement for a young side themselves having big 1st team players missing.
PICTURED BY BBC SPORT WALES (GETTY IMAGES): Glamorgan batsman hits brilliant shot to the ropes as the Welsh outfit rack up the runs versus Hampshire, sealing big victory in their slim last 8 hopes in Neath.