Rain Ends Somerset Match As A Draw

Hampshire's four-day captain Will Smith remained positive after sealing a draw with Somerset at the Ageas Bowl

Day One:

Jimmy Adams (61) scored his third fifty of this year's Specsavers County Championship to lead Hampshire to 108-1 at lunch on day one against Somerset, before a testing spell from Jamie Overton (5-42) halted the morning's progress, restricting the home side to 219 all out at the Ageas Bowl.

Hants all-rounder Ryan McLaren replied to Overton's inspired spell by removing Somerset captain Chris Rogers for a golden duck in the second over of the evening session to boost his side's hopes of securing a home victory.

Marcus Trescothick (32*) and Johannes Myburgh (29*) have taken the away side to 66-1 at stumps, and Somerset will start day two trailing by 153 runs.

Hants skipper Will Smith’s (32) decision to bat first against Somerset immediately paid off, as he and Jimmy Adams (61) put together an 89-run partnership before Tom Alsop (37) took the home side to 108-1 at lunch.

Adams scored his third County Championship half-century of the season off just 85 balls, hitting ten boundaries and looking in good touch alongside Smith, who usefully added 32 runs before being removed by Craig Overton at 89-1.  

Tom Alsop immediately looked assured at the crease as Hampshire moved to 108-1 at the end of a progressive morning session at the Ageas Bowl, and the promising young batsman reached 37 after the break before being trapped at lbw by Jim Allenby.

Michael Carberry (29) batting at number four is an uncommon sight for Hampshire supporters and, when Adams’ composed 61-run knock was ended by a superb catch from Marcus Trescothick, Carberry relished the opportunity to score further down the order.

Having begun so confidently, Hampshire experienced a batting collapse when 6 wickets fell for 11 runs - Jamie Overton took five, including Carberry, Sean Ervine and Lewis McManus to reduce the home side to 195-9 from 184-3. Having batted so proficiently across all formats for Hampshire, it was a blow to see Liam Dawson (15) trapped at lbw by Allenby.

At 184-3, Hampshire had looked like posting a positive total on day one but Ryan McLaren (24*) and Tino Best (9) found themselves picking up the pieces after a damaging display from the visiting bowlers. The pair defended Hants’ final wicket with impressive resolve though, and South-African all-rounder McLaren remained unbeaten at the crease when Hampshire were all out for 218.

Hunting for key wickets in the evening session, McLaren wasted no time in removing Somerset's captain, as Chris Rogers edged to Lewis McManus with his first ball faced - the visitors reduced to 4-1.

Best seemed to have trapped Johannes Myburgh in the ninth over, with Somerset 21-1, and he was clearly disappointed when the umpire shook his head to dismiss Hampshire calls for a second early wicket.

Former England batsman Trescothick showed class and experience with the bat, accompanied by Myburgh, to help Somerset post 66-1 when the players left the field for bad light.

Somerset will start day two trailing Hampshire by 153 runs after an unpredictable opening day at the Ageas Bowl.  

Day Two:

Ryan McLaren took five Specsavers County Championship wickets to keep Hampshire alive against Somerset, as centuries from Johann Myburgh (110) and James Hildreth (152) gave the visitors a 255-run lead at the end of the first innings. 

McLaren removed Hildreth when he had looked unbeatable at the crease, and the South African all-rounder gave Hampshire real momentum mid-way through their first bowling innings, which had otherwise offered the home side very few chances.

Will Smith (11*) and Tom Alsop (7*) looked to provide some stability for Hampshire, after Jimmy Adams was unable to recreate his accomplished innings on day one, falling to Lewis Gregory after five balls.

McLaren prevented Marcus Trescothick (42) from reaching his fifth half-ton of the season, as Somerset’s veteran batsman edged to Sean Ervine at second slip.

The visitors climbed from 88-2 to 200-2 before lunch, as Myburgh raced towards a century and Hildreth added a fifty alongside him, putting 112 runs on together.

Hampshire turned to spin in order to restrict Somerset’s progress with the bat, introducing spinners Liam Dawson and Mason Crane, but McLaren’s second wicket was the home side’s only breakthrough of the morning session.

Myburgh’s class began to show in the afternoon and he reached his century an hour after lunch, relishing his first four-day action of 2016, as Somerset overtook Hampshire’s 219-run total. There was a risk of the visitors being out of sight by the end of day two, as the Myburgh-Hildreth partnership moved to 167 runs.

Alsop was forced to leave the field when he was struck by the ball at short leg, but he returned to the action shortly after to end concerns over his well-being.

Crane lifted Hampshire by removing Myburgh and later Trego (4) before he had settled. Myburgh played the ball down the throat of Tino Best at mid-off in a momentary lapse of concentration, and ended a measured innings from the Somerset batsman.

McLaren took his third wicket of the innings in between Crane’s breakthroughs by trapping Jim Allenby at lbw, but not before Somerset had surpassed 300 and James Hildreth had registered his third century of the season.

Hampshire finally found some momentum as McLaren began to turn the ball ferociously, claiming the key wicket of Hildreth and then Lewis Gregory (18), trapping both Somerset men at lbw to reduce the visitors to 376-7.

Tino Best ended a brief 16-run partnership between the Overton twins, Jamie and Craig, as Gareth Berg smartly caught the former at mid-wicket.  

Ryan Davies (52*) and Craig Overton (35*) frustrated the Hampshire bowlers by forging an 82-run partnership in the evening session, and declared when Davies reached fifty, on 474-8 with a 255-run lead.

Jimmy Adams had looked assured and positive when hitting 61 off 102 balls on day one, but he chopped on his fifth ball on day two, as Somerset’s Lewis Gregory found instant success with a swinging ball.

Hants skipper Smith is at the helm of Hampshire's revival, set to begin day three on 18-1 alongside Alsop. 

Day Three:

Tom Alsop (52) scored his third first-class fifty to help Hampshire post 173-4 and move within 82 runs of Somerset, before showers ended the action on day three of their Specsavers County Championship meeting at the Ageas Bowl.

Alsop forged an 89-run partnership with captain Will Smith (33) - Hampshire's highest second wicket stand of the season - to stabilise the home side after days one and two put them firmly on the back foot against Somerset.

Experienced batsmen Michael Carberry (37*) and Sean Ervine (34*) were at the helm for Hampshire when the play was stopped for bad light just before tea, and rain prevented the players from reappearing. 

Having lost opening partner Jimmy Adams at the end of day two, Hants skipper Smith looked to steady the home side alongside a highly promising young batsman, Alsop.

Smith and Alsop batted appropriately for the situation, taking few unnecessary risks to keep out the Somerset bowling attack, led by Jamie Overton and Jim Allenby, and showed admirable resilience to put on 89 runs together.

Alsop scored his second County Championship half-ton of the season, as Hampshire went about their business with a steely resolve in the morning session, before the young batsman was trapped at lbw by Allenby, who bowled consistently before lunch.

Smith’s measured approach was one of an experienced player, and the stand-in skipper showed tremendous grit, patience and determination to face 120 balls and push only four to the boundary.

He and Carberry went in for lunch at 112-2 having made steady progress with the bat, but Hampshire were restricted by a testing spell from Lewis Gregory, who clean-bowled Smith immediately after the break and then found an edge from Dawson (4) in the 46th over.

Despite trailing Somerset by 107 runs, Sean Ervine supplied an ambitious approach with the bat, lofting one of Allenby's shorter deliveries over Jamie Overton at mid-off and on top the boundary rope below the hotel. 

Zimbabwean all-rounder Ervine (34*) assisted Carberry in steering the home side back on track with a fifty stand, moving from 121-4 to 173 without further loss, as glorious sunshine fell behind grey clouds over the Ageas Bowl.

Play then stopped for bad light as the players took an early tea at 3.20pm, and the forecasted rain followed soon after, with Hampshire assuming a stable position.

Hampshire will begin the final day of their Specsavers County Championship match against Somerset at 173-4 and trailing by 82 runs, with Ervine and Carberry now on 52 runs together. 

Day Four:

Hampshire's Specsavers County Championship encounter with Somerset was abandoned after persistent rain at the Ageas Bowl prevented play getting underway on day four.

The home side had moved to 173-4 on day three, but adverse conditions prevented Michael Carberry (37*) and Sean Ervine (34*) from continuing their progress with the bat on the final day, finishing the match trailing Somerset's total by 82 runs.

Hampshire's resolve with the bat in their rain-affected second innings effectively earned the draw and a total of eight points from the match, whilst Somerset take 13 points back to Taunton.

Hants will look to get back to winning ways in the Specsavers County Championship when they travel to Durham on Sunday 3rd July, as skipper Will Smith faces his former club.

Points are massive in our situation. We're looking to try and finish as high up the table as possible, and if we click into gear we can move up the division. We can't rely on the weather - we have to get ahead of the game and be really positive with the bat. While we're not getting the weight of runs, everyone seems to be in a good place. We need to make sure that mentally we're all striving for big scores.

It seems a long time ago that I was at Durham, but we'll go up there full of confidence that we can put in a performance there like we did last year. It's gonna be a good challenge but one we're well capable of coming through.

Will Smith, Stand-in Four-Day Captain