28 Apr 2022 | LV= Insurance County Championship Division One 2022
240 all out
9 for 0
246 all out
344 all out
Match Drawn

Day One

Hampshire were bowled out for 246 after electing to bowl first under grey skies at The Ageas Bowl.

The home side found themselves in trouble after losing both openers, Joe Weatherley and Ian Holland a single and four respectively, before James Anderson trapped James Vince LBW for just a two.

Hassan Ali, fresh off the back of a six wicket haul against Gloucestershire, then took two wickets in an over to remove Liam Dawson and Ben Brown, as Hampshire found themselves 40-5 after an hour of play.

Nick Gubbins was the mainstay, along with Felix Organ, as they batted sensibly as the ball settled down, and they made it through to the lunch break at 69-5.

Hampshire needed a partnership. They got one through the pugnaciousness of Gubbins and Organ – who put on 92 either side of lunch.

Gubbins spent a portion of his winter playing in Zimbabwe’s Logan Cup – scoring a century in two matches – and had begun his Championship season with a handful of starts and a 69 last week versus Kent. He was forced to temper his usual aesthetic to churn to fifty in 133 balls.

Anderson returned to direct some short balls at Organ, who having negotiated a series of bumpers, tamely lobbed a top edge to leg slip for 42, before Keith Barker looped a leading-edge off Ali.

James Fuller juxtaposed Gubbins by upping the tempo with his biffing and bottom-hand favoured shot-making. He was 37 off 19 balls at one point, before slowing slightly to a 49 ball fifty, with an 83-run stand with Gubbins.

Gubbins reached his second century for Hampshire since arriving last summer, and the 12th of his first-class career, in 210 balls. But with Fuller bowled by Luke Wells, Ali mopped up the tail ruthlessly to move to 19 scalps so far this season.

Wells and George Balderson had fewer issues against the new ball, although the latter tickled Barker behind late in the day.

Day Two

Keith Barker claimed his second LV= Insurance County Championship five-wicket haul of the season as Hampshire and Lancashire continued their close-fought encounter.

Left-arm fast bowler Barker is the equal leading wicket-taker in Division One so far this season with 20 scalps, with his five-for 67 adding to his impressive start to the campaign.

The Lancashire-born Barker helped Hampshire secure a nominal six-run first-innings advantage, with Phil Salt and Tom Bailey’s half-centuries keeping the visitors well in the match.

Nick Gubbins lead Hampshire’s evening lead builder, while James Anderson added two more wickets to his career tally – with Hampshire closing on 103 for three, the lead growing to 109.

The county champions tend to be the teams who take 20 wickets the easiest each match, and therefore have the best bowling attack. This is the main reason Hampshire and Lancashire are considered to be this year’s main challengers.

James Anderson, Hasan Ali and Tom Bailey vs Kyle Abbott, Muhammad Abbas and Keith Barker, or in terms of first class wickets 1,547 vs 1,515, back that up. Against other attacks the par on this pitch might be close to 350, rather than 250, such has been the relentlessness of accurate and skilful fast bowling.

The helpful morning conditions which had reduced Hampshire to 40 for five on the first morning returned to see Lancashire lose six wickets in little over an hour on day two. Nightwatchman Danny Lamb pushed forward to third slip, Josh Bohannon and Dane Vilas were undone by some extra bounce by the impressive Barker and George Balderson nicked behind having been done on the angle by Kyle Abbott.

Steven Croft attempted to cut with a flourish but instead nailed into the slip cordon and Rob Jones jerked behind – Lancashire 105 for seven, with all seven being caught behind the wicket. Hampshire’s lead would have been closer to three figures had Weatherley held onto misjudgements from Bailey and Salt when there were in single figures.

The duo put on 94 with risk-free cricket to as the ball started to age. Bailey dominated the offside with boundaries, while Salt milked either side of the wicket with intelligent running – half-centuries coming in 70 and 68 balls respectively.

The stand ended when Bailey strode forward to edge to third slip, but Hasan joined the tail-end fun to take the scores to almost parity with a smart 19 – with Barker eventually ending things by bowling a slogging Salt and having Hasan picking out long-on.

First time around, Anderson was forced to wait until his 18th delivery before taking Ian Holland’s outside edge. He needed half the deliveries to persuade Joe Weatherley to prod a wobble ball to Rob Jones’ safe hands at third slip. Holland followed soon after lbw to Hasan.

James Vince and Gubbins batted their way out of another sticky situation with their glorious shot-making, putting on 58 carefree runs before the former was adjudged leg before to Anderson – a decision that left Vince seething.

Gubbins, who survived a tight lbw appeal, was joined by Liam Dawson and the pair put on an unbeaten 33 under the floodlights before play finished five over short due to bad light.

Day Three

Nick Gubbins scored twin centuries in an LV= Insurance County Championship match for the first time in his career as Hampshire set Lancashire 351 to win at the Ageas Bowl.

Left-handed batter Gubbins followed his innings rescuing 101 not out with an effortless 130 to give Hampshire a hefty lead on a pitch which had previously benefited the bowlers.

He joined forces with Ben Brown, who scored a high-quality 72, to put on 144 for the fifth wicket to grind down Lancashire.

Hampshire were eventually bowled out for 344, with the visitors reaching nine in six wicketless overs by close.

This was a better day for batting. The skies were blue and the ball was already 36 overs old. The caveat being James Anderson and his relentless control. His first six-over spell of the day saw four maidens and Liam Dawson’s wicket. He eventually recorded three for 36.

Gubbins was largely anonymous in his slow run building, although burst into life with two eye-catching cover drives. The first punishing a rare piece of width offered by Anderson, the latter taking him to a 120-ball fifty.

Gubbins and Brown are two recent signings under-pinning Hampshire’s chase for a first title since 1974; hungry having been unwanted by previous counties but with the records of the finest county players. They grew the lead in a risk-free fashion, making the most of an unresponsive ageing ball, totting up 144 runs together in the lazy spring afternoon sun.

Gubbins’ big moment came when he pushed Hasan Ali through the covers, with his 218 delivery. For a second the emotion appeared to swell as he gently punched the air with his head bowed, tapped his bat on the floor three times before turning around and almost collapsing into a hug with Brown. Only then did he take off his helmet and raise his bat to the dressing room for the 13th ton of his first-class career.

Brown reached 72 before the second new ball pinned him plumb in front, with Felix Organ following him back shortly after when not offering a shot to George Balderson. The lead past 300 before Gubbins was finally dismissed after 231 runs and 515 deliveries in the match when Danny Lamb trapped him on the crease. Keith Barker chipped in with 40 before scything to cover, James Fuller was bowled and Muhammad Abbas holed out to long-on to complete the innings.

Day Four

Rain thwarted Hampshire and Lancashire’s attempts to play out a potentially classic LV= Insurance County Championship final day.

The first three days had set up the tantalising prospect of Lancashire needing 342 more runs and Hampshire requiring 10 wickets.

But light rain swept over the Ageas Bowl from around 10:30am, throughout the morning and afternoon.

Even with the prospect of a result evaporating, Hampshire were still keen to get onto the field to enhance their over rate – which sat at -1. But conditions never improved and umpires Rob White and Nick Cook finally confirmed the draw at 5pm to the backdrop of both sets of players kicking footballs around.

Both sides claim 12 points each in their quests to win the championship, and means Lancashire’s unbeaten run in first class cricket away at Hampshire stretches to 33 years.