Sussex v Hampshire - Match Report

Hampshire stumble to defeat in Bob Willis Trophy opener

Day One

Ajeet Dale took three wickets on his Hampshire debut and Mason Crane returned his best first-class figures in England for three years as Hampshire had just the better of the first day against Sussex in the Bob Willis Trophy at Hove.

Right-arm seamer Dale, who is on a rookie contract with the club after coming through their Academy system, took two wickets in two balls and finished with 3 for 20 while leg-spinner Crane took the last three wickets to fall as Sussex were dismissed for 176 in 61.1 overs after winning the toss. The hosts fought back in the final hour though, taking three late wickets as Hampshire reached 77 for four at stumps.

It had been hard going for the Sussex batsmen and they were indebted to opener Phil Salt, who top-scored with 68, and George Garton, who held the lower order together with an undefeated 54. The pitch offered few terrors and there were quite a few soft dismissals.

There had been no hint that of the stranglehold Hampshire’s attack would go on to impose on the batsmen when Keith Barker and James Fuller leaked 25 runs off their opening overs but left-armer Barker then settled into a probing spell with his next seven costing just four runs.

He made the breakthrough in the seventh over when Tom Haines (14) padded up to a ball that swung a touch and trapped him lbw.

Ian Holland struck next in the 17th over. Harry Finch, who had taken 22 balls to get off the mark but was beginning to settle, played down the wrong line and was lbw for eight to leave Sussex 56-2.

Dale had initially struggled to get his line right and he was a touch fortunate with his first wicket when Tom Clark (2) mis-timed a pull to a ball outside off stump and Barker dived forward at mid-on to take an excellent low catch.

But there was nothing wrong with his next delivery which moved late off the pitch to Ben Brown, who feathered an edge to wicketkeeper Lewis McManus. Holland struck again with the last ball before lunch when Delray Rawlins was leg before for a duck, leaving Sussex 73 for five and in some strife.

Salt was typically aggressive when given the opportunity and had progressed to 68 from 83 deliveries, with 11 fours, when he toe-ended an attempted pull and Fuller took an excellent diving catch in his follow-through.

Ollie Robinson was badly dropped at third slip by Felix Organ off Barker on four but only added seven more runs when he played on to the fourth ball of Dale’s second spell to leave Sussex 125 for seven.

Sussex debutants Jack Carson and Henry Crocombe, two of nine players in the home team who have come through their Academy system, helped Garton add 31 for the eighth and ninth wickets, but both fell during an impressively controlled spell from Crane. Carson (5) fatally played back to the top-spinner and Crocombe (2) was smartly stumped by McManus after being lured forward.

Garton, though, twice hit Crane for six to loosen the shackles before Mitch Claydon (3) swung across the line to give Crane his third wicket and figures of three for 23. Garton’s excellent unbeaten 54 came off 107 balls with five fours and was his third successive first-class half-century.

Sussex fought back with the ball. Felix Organ was caught off a no ball from Ollie Robinson on 14 had not added to his score when former Kent seamer Mitch Claydon found a feint inside edge to claim his 300th first-class wicket.

Another debutant – off-spinner Carson – made an even quicker impression when Joe Weatherley (19) edged his second ball in first-class cricket before Robinson came back to bowl skipper Tom Alsop (21) and have night-watchman Crane caught behind for a duck.

Earlier, both sides had observed a minute’s silence before play started to remember the victims of the Covid19 pandemic. They then took the knee in support of Black Lives Matter.

Day Two

Three wickets fell for just one run in the final hour of a thrilling evening session as Hampshire fought back bravely, despite a second half-century in as many innings from Phil Salt, to end another enthralling day’s play in their Bob Willis Trophy clash against Sussex at Hove.

The first two days of this match have seen fit and energetic bowlers – not always the case in August – getting the better of out of touch batsmen on a decent batting track.  But Salt has been the exception in both innings, dominating an earnest and varied Hampshire attack to place his Sussex side in a dominating position before quick wickets fell at the end of the day to leave the result in the balance.

Salt, 24 later this month, dominated the 16-over opening partnership of 60 runs with Tom Haines, though he was fortunate not to be caught and bowled by James Fuller when he had made just 20.  He lost Haines, who was lbw to Ian Holland for 20.  But that didn’t put off Salt as he reached his fifty off 61 balls by lifting the off-spinner Felix Organ over square-leg for six.

He led the way as Sussex built on their slender first innings lead of 23.  But with two days left in the match this was a self-restrained innings by his galloping standards.

Sussex lost their second wicket at 90, when Harry Finch was lbw to Holland for a 35-ball 10.  And then Tom Clark was caught behind off Keith Barker for four to make it 99 for three in the 33rd over.

Salt had been joined by his captain Ben Brown, who scored a sprightly 25 before he was caught at short-leg from a delivery that turned and bounced from Felix Organ to make it 142 for four.  Then Jack Carson was caught behind first-ball off Crane, who was causing many problems along with fellow spinner Organ.

In the penultimate over of the day Salt lost his wicket, belting Organ to Fuller at mid-on.  He had faced 134 balls and hit tsix fours and a six.

Hampshire resumed in the morning on 77 for four and the first wicket fell after almost 40 minutes of play when their captain, Sam Northeast, edged Mitch Claydon and Salt took a good catch, low down, at first slip.  Northeast had added just seven runs to his overnight 14.

Hampshire’s top-scorer scorer was Harry Came, with a tenacious 25 which occupied 80 minutes and 67 deliveries.  He is playing only his second first-class match – his first was as a concussion substitute.

His best stoke was a superbly timed clip off his legs for four runs through midwicket.  But then he edged George Garton to Harry Finch at second slip to make it 119 for six.

Sussex strengthened their grip on the match in the last half hour before lunch.  At 134 Lewis McManus was seventh out when he shuffled across his stumps and was lbw to the very impressive Ollie Robinson.  And in the following over it became 136 for eight when Ian Holland – who had survived what would have been a miraculous catch to long leg - was bowled by Garton.

Sussex finished off the Hampshire innings within half an hour of the restart.  James Fuller was caught at short midwicket and finally Keith Barker fell to Carson to give the debutant off-spinner his second wicket.  Robinson and Claydon took three wickets each with the rest going to Carson and Garton.

Day Three

Ollie Robinson took five wickets, including three in 14 balls, as Sussex beat Hampshire by 94 runs in their Bob Willis Trophy south group opener at Hove.

Robinson picked up Joe Weatherley, Felix Organ and Sam Northeast before lunch and claimed Harry Came as his fourth victim early into the afternoon session. He then returned after tea to remove last man Ajeet Singh to finish with 5 for 29 from 13.3 impressive overs.

Hampshire lost wickets steadily in their pursuit of a victory target of 245 and were dismissed for 146.

Robinson, 26, finished with match figures of nine for 56 and once again showed the form which brought him 137 Championship wickets in the last two seasons and a place in England’s training squad for the recent Test series against West Indies.  

He removed both Hampshire openers in near identical fashion, driving without much foot movement and edging to third slip. George Garton held on at the second attempt to remove Joe Weatherley (2) before taking a low catch offered by Organ for nine.

Robinson struck again in his fourth over when Northeast (7), attempting a checked drive, got an inside edge and lost his leg stump and Hampshire had slumped to 38 for four just after lunch when Came was defeated by Robinson’s extra bounce off a good length and edged to Phil Salt at slip for six. After his new-ball spell Robinson had figures of four for 15 from eight overs.

Although Robinson was a handful throughout, there was some poor shot selection by the Hampshire batsmen with no one in either of their innings going past 30.

After Robinson had wrecked their top order, debutant off-spinner Jack Carson picked up three wickets as Hampshire’s batsmen continued to show a lack of discipline having seemingly got themselves established.

Ian Holland (13) was bowled sweeping as for the second time in the match Carson took a wicket with his second ball before left-hander Tom Alsop, who looked as comfortable as anyone, came down the track and was beaten in the flight, bowled for 27.

Lewis McManus was another who got out when seemingly well set, caught off a top-edged pull for 28 the ball after he pulled George Garton over mid-wicket for a flat six.

Then James Fuller horribly mis-timed a pull at a short ball from slow left-armer Delray Rawlins which he should have blasted out of the ground and instead gave a catch to Henry Crocombe at wide long-on.

Hampshire were 135 for eight at tea and their resistance lasted for only another 15 minutes after the interval. Mason Crane endured a 14-ball duck, caught off a mis-timed sweep to give Carson his fifth wicket of the match.

Fittingly, though, it was left to Robinson – the best bowler on show by some margin – to wrap things up when he had last man Ajeet Dale caught behind for a duck to claim the 14th five-wicket haul of his first-class career. Keith Barker, who struck some futile blows towards the end, finished unbeaten on 25.

Earlier, Sussex had added 66 runs to their overnight 155 for six before they were dismissed for 221 in their second innings.

Barker made the breakthrough in the second over of the day when Rawlins (11) was caught behind to give the former Warwickshire left-armer his 400th first-class wicket. Off-spinner Organ and leg-spinner Crane combined to finish off the innings.

Robinson made a rapid 23 before trying to sweep Organ out of the rough and giving a catch to Holland, running back from slip.

Garton (13) was leg before when he missed a sweep off Crane, who finished off the innings when Mitch Claydon (16) slogged across the line after adding 22 runs for the last wicket with Crocombe (10 not out).