Hampshire v Essex: 2nd XI Trophy – Tuesday 1 May
After the loss of last week’s matches against Surrey, it initially looked as though the weather would once again delay the start of Essex’s Second Eleven Trophy campaign. But, the move of the game against Hampshire from the Nursery to the main ground at the Ageas Bowl, and the excellent work of the groundstaff meant that an opening victory was recorded.
Having won the toss and surprisingly decided to bat first with the match reduced to 31 overs, Hampshire lost two quick wickets to Reece Topley and Maurice Chambers who exploited early movement. Victoria Bushranger Glenn Maxwell decided the only way to play was to counterattack and provided fireworks with a 43-ball 66 (including 6×4 and 3×6) that saw Hampshire reach 87-3 in the 14th over.
When Maxwell was 6th out in the 20th over, falling to Jon Carpenter, Hampshire’s innings stalled against the triple spin threat of Tim Phillips, Nick Browne (2-13) and Carpenter (3-23) and they were dismissed in the 28th over for 137.
In response, left-armer James Tomlinson (3-17) picked up the wickets of Browne and Jaik Mickleburgh by the time 21 was on the board, and it took a partnership of 38 between Ben Foakes and Kishen Velani to get the innings going as Hampshire dropped their field back.
Aided by two run outs, Hampshire kept chipping away, but Harry Ramsden hit 16 in two overs off Tomlinson and Danny Briggs to see Essex to the verge of victory, which was confirmed with an over to spare by Carpenter.
Hampshire v Essex 2nd XI Championship – Wednesday 2 – Friday 4 May
A stunning climax to a match that lost 120 overs to the weather saw Essex win a match that for long periods looked destined for a draw. Tim Phillips’ 3 wickets in 8 balls broke through a determined rearguard effort from Hampshire skipper Danny Briggs and Kabir Ali to claim victory with just one over remaining, after a brave agreement set up a 5 an over run chase.
On the first day, both sides were surprised how well the pitch had improved after the previous day’s Trophy match had been switched to the main ground, and Hampshire won the toss and chose to field first. This looked to be the right decision as Ali broke through Nick Browne’s defence with the last ball of the first over, but Mickleburgh and Foakes, cautious at first, built a 221 partnership to take control. The partnership is a record for Essex against Hampshire in the Second XI Championship. Mickleburgh fell for exactly 100 (156bls, 16×4, 2×6) to give Ollie Makin the first of his 3 wickets. Foakes carried on to a career best 186 (215bls, 31×4, 2×6) adding 48 with Michael Comber and Harry Ramsden for the 3rd and 4th wickets respectively, then a further 58 with Tim Phillips, before becoming the 5th man out when the score was on 375. Ali and Tomlinson exploited the new ball to run through the remaining batsmen and end the innings on 395.
With an awkward 7 over session for the Hampshire batsmen, Maurice Chambers took two wickets and aided by the run out of nightwatchman Briggs without facing a ball, Hampshire closed the first day on 9-3.
The loss of the second day to heavy overnight rain, and a delayed start on day 3 looked to have made a draw the most likely result, and Hampshire batted steadily through the hour to lunch to reach 66-4, giving debutant Matthew Hunn time for his first wicket. But Hampshire’s declaration at the interval and Essex’s forfeiture of their second innings set up a target of 330 to win in a minimum of 65 overs on a pitch with a reputation for fast scoring.
Chambers and Reece Topley again made early inroads, dismissing both openers with only 11 on the board, but Bilal Shafayat (77 from 103bls) and Adam Rouse (62 from 94bls) saw the hosts through to tea before accelerating to put on 133 from 29 overs. But with 6 an over required, Chambers found the edge of Rouse’s bat and Phillips induced a false shot from Shafayat in a spell that saw Hampshire lose 4-24 in 46 balls. Ali and Briggs added 48 for the 8th wicket and looked to have steered Hampshire to safety when Phillip’s broke through Briggs’ defence and added the wickets of Ali and Makin in consecutive deliveries in his next over, meaning victory was reached with just 6 balls remaining.