By Connor Steel
HAMPSHIRE CRICKET made it three successive victories within the County Championship Division One on Thursday afternoon as they travelled for an away trip to Yorkshire, beating the White Rose by seven wickets in Scarborough on the final day. And it was a brilliant 1st morning that gave the platform for this comfortable win on the road as they took six wickets despite heavy downpours before earning themselves a slight lead, which came in handy as the pitch became easier to score runs on during the second innings for both teams.
Yorkshire made a terrible start after electing to bat first, losing their opening wicket after five balls as Keith Barker trapped George Hill leg-before for a golden duck. It soon got better for the visitors as Mohammed Abbas took three quick wickets, bowling Adam Lyth (1) and Jonathan Tattersall (6) either side of trapping Tom Kohler-Cadmore (6) LBW within the first hour as the hosts fell to 20-4. This quickly became 33-6 as Kyle Abbott took the wickets of both Matthew Waite and Matthew Revis before rain forced an early lunch.
The enforced stoppage clicked Yorkshire back to life during the afternoon session as Dom Bess joined Will Fraine at the crease, the latter hitting Ian Holland for successive fours to set the tone. Down the other end Bess scored runs on both sides of the wicket and often lived dangerously as he flicked over the slip cordon; luck being a key word as the pair reached their 50 partnership with a fine cover-drive. But they continued to stand firm against a variety of lengths from the away bowlers, approaching their 100 with 14 boundaries.
The pair exceeded the century stand together and each recorded their individual half 50s before Hampshire got their reward, taking the wicket of Fraine as he was caught by Joe Weatherley for fifty three off Abbott to leave the score on 147-7. And in the last ball before tea, Bess (67) departed to the South African after two fours making it 158-8; rain returning in the interval with a heavy downpour. Further showers meant no return to the pitch for the evening session as 42 overs was lost, the umpires abandoning the play just after 5pm.
All three bowling points were achieved by Hampshire within 11 balls of the second morning of play, Abbott seeing Steve Patterson caught behind and Jordan Thompson at second slip as Yorkshire were dismissed for 159 all out without gaining any bonus points for batting. But the away response was just as shaky as they were reduced to 12-3 after five overs either side of rain stoppages and an early lunch; Ben Coad taking the wickets of Holland for a duck and Gubbins (4) whilst Thompson trapped Felix Organ leg-before with a yorker.
Captain James Vince joined together with Weatherley to steady the ship with a fast ten over partnership of 37 before Patterson dismissed them both in quick succession for 15 and 23 respectively. Further trouble then awaited as Liam Dawson flicked an edge to the hands of Kohler-Cadmore for 10 as the batsmen were soon reduced to 72-6 after 26 overs, a worrying position calmed by Ben Brown and Keith Barker who combined well with an unbroken stand of 41 before tea as they passed the 100 mark with ease against a softening ball.
But it was a counter-attack from the batting pair in a sixteen over spell after tea, both batsman hitting multiple boundaries including one six from Barker against Coad down the ground to reach his fifty off just 49 balls. He wasn’t able to build much further however as he was caught off Thompson’s fine straight delivery at second slip, Brown continuing his stand at the crease as he himself reached his half century. But the bowler got his 100th wicket as he finally drew the Hampshire batsman into a loose shot caught in the deep making it 175-8.
New batting pair Abbott and James Fuller continued the mindset of quick runs, adding twenty-nine in just five overs including eight boundaries as they passed the 200 mark. But both batsman were soon out for exactly 22 runs each in quick succession, falling to Paterson and Thompson respectively; securing a 1st batting point as they finished on 218 all out. And the visitors were again jubilant as Hill (0) was trapped LBW by Abbas, the hosts battling to 23-1 in a last spell before the close of a day that drew thirteen wickets and 3 rain delays.
Unlike the previous two days, the third morning was a calm affair as Yorkshire set about wiping off their first innings arrears of fifty nine without too many dismissals. And to their credit they did brilliantly to control the seamers with slow progress, progressing to 39-1 before losing their 2nd wicket as Kohler-Cadmore was well caught behind for 19. Further resistance saw the hosts move into the lead with Lyth in control, although he did lose his 3rd partner as Fraine was bowled by Holland; a stand of 32 leading the score to lunch at 98-3.
Lyth reached his half century and Yorkshire’s century as he benefited from a series of poor drops in the slip cordon; Abbott and Vince the culprits shortly after lunch. But the opener ran out of luck as he edged behind for 59 from a painstaking 177 deliveries to reduce the hosts to 119-4, which was the only wicket to fall in the afternoon session as Waite and Tattersall came together. The pair added a total of 65 unbeaten runs before tea as the latter reached his 50, Hampshire bowlers probing with an old ball on a flattening and slow surface.
But persistence paid off in the afternoon session as the new ball saw two wickets from Abbas, who bowled Waite (47) and had Tattersall (63) caught to reduce the hosts to 210-6. Similarly Abbott took three wickets as he removed Bess (7), Thompson (9) and Revis (24) across a four over spell as Hampshire sensed a chance. And they seized this after a frustrating 30-run partnership between Coad and Paterson; Fuller removing the latter to end Yorkshire’s second innings on 272 all out to set Hampshire a tricky target of 214 to win on day 4.
Surviving a three over spell late on day three, Organ and Holland set about laying a big platform on the final morning; slowly building confidence against some tired and inconsistent length bowling. Boundaries came from both ends as Hampshire reached fifty runs within sixteen overs as both batters well worked off the hips without giving anything away to the home side; the only real threat coming from Bess who was repelled by the two openers as they neared the 100 partnership mark with brilliantly taken runs between the stumps.
Holland accelerated the rate in the latter stages of the morning as he reached his fifty off 92 balls, sweeping Bess for four and hitting a straight maximum; Organ following suit down the other end as he struck his own six whilst being fortunate as a missed stumping saw him gain another life. And the batsman used it to full effect as he also reached his fifty just after lunch with a single, Hampshire cruising at 125-0 at this stage as the target was reduced to single figures despite the bowler friendly conditions with clouds circling the coast.
Another ten runs were added before a first wicket fell for the visitors, Coad removing Holland for a brilliantly taken seventy one including eight fours and one maximum. This soon became 147-3 as Organ was deceived by Bess and was caught at fine leg, whilst Weatherley was trapped LBW for a 14-ball duck three others later by Coad down the other end. But Gubbins and Vince joined together at the crease, first calming down a now excitable Yorkshire attack with some good defensive shots and dot balls eating up a small passage of play.
After settling Vince started to show his recent Blast form as he smashed a boundary over deep fine leg and dragged Bess over the ropes for a maximum, which seemed to set the tone as the runs began to flow once again. The pair hit ten good boundaries as they hit sixty seven unbeaten runs in just 15 overs as Hampshire sealed a huge victory in their title ambitions before tea; the captain scoring 43 and Gubbins adding twenty to turn their run chase into a formality by the end of a topsy turfy match that lost over 80 overs due to the rain.
Hampshire finished with twenty points from this away success and maintain their pressure on Surrey, now sitting sixteen points behind the leaders with 8 wins from eleven this campaign; their next red ball encounter being on September 5 versus Northamptonshire at home. However their attentions will now turn to fifty-over cricket in the Royal London One-Day Cup starting next Friday (August 5), in which they host Worcestershire at the Ageas Bowl and travel to Kent two days later; which will run alongside the 2022 Hundred competition.
PICTURED BY HAMPSHIRE CRICKET (GETTY IMAGES): Keith Barker celebrates wicket for the visitors at Scarborough with Ben Brown in comfortable victory against Yorkshire, sealed on the final afternoon of game.