5 Sep 2022 | LV= Insurance County Championship Division One 2022
175 all out
221 all out
400 for 9
Hampshire win by an innings and 4 runs

Day Four

Words by Alex Smith, ECB Reporters Network

Keith Barker and Mohammad Abbas sent Hampshire to the top of LV= Insurance Division One as they beat the rain to thrash Northamptonshire by an innings and four runs.

Barker moved to 49 wickets for the season as he took three for 63, to go with another three-for in the first innings, while Pakistan fast-bowler Abbas celebrated four for 32.

Hampshire, who took full points from the match to lead Surrey by eight points at the summit, took the seven wickets needed in 27 overs after the morning had been washed out and the elements taken them off in the afternoon.

Hampshire were facing the last day without Kyle Abbott, the leading wicket-taker in Division One, with a lower leg injury, suffered the previous evening.

James Fuller had joked that Hampshire players would go and help the groundstaff with “towels and sponges” to assist with the dry-up, having already seen 90 overs lost over the first three days. The ever-popular Aneurin Donald took this literally as he manned a broom to sweep water off the covers.

His, and Simon Lee’s usual crew’s, efforts were rewarded with a 1:30pm start, with 59 scheduled overs.

Barker thanked them after 12 balls by striking Rob Keogh in front with a ball that stayed low. That was a theme and something Josh Cobb tried to negate the risk of being pinned by moving outside his off-stump.

It saved him the first time off Abbas but the second time he didn’t slide far enough across and departed.

Cobb would not have been too happy with the bizarre situation around his wicket. He and Ricardo Vasconcelos had almost walked over the boundary rope in drizzle before being ushered back, only for the clouds to burst immediately after the finger was raised.

The umpires announced a restart time of 3:30pm, but that news was greeted with more covers being put on, as dark clouds pushed rapidly overhead in heavy winds. This was received with jeers and moans from the Hampshire balcony.

However, play did start on time, now with 33.5 overs planned and after Northamptonshire bowling coach Chris Liddle had inspected the pitch, and 13 balls into the action the sixth wicket fell.

Abbas bowled back of a length and found subtle away movement off the pitch to find James Sales driving to first slip.

After a period of playing and missing, Vasconcelos swivelled Barker for six before a straight drive took the deficit under 20. But a ball later the Portuguese-passported batter was hit on the back pad by Barker and given out for 20.

Abbas then grabbed a quick-fire double. Tom Taylor was brilliantly caught behind by Donald off his inside edge and Ben Sanderson’s off stump took a tumble as the ball straightened.

The rain started to hammer down again but Fuller refused to allow Mother Nature to win as he castled Jack White sensationally to claim the win and bowl the visitors out for 221. If he had failed to take the delivery the game would almost certainly have been a draw such was the force of the deluge.

Day Three

Words by Alex Smith, ECB Reporters Network

Hampshire snared 12 wickets in the day to roll Northamptonshire out for 175 and claimed full bonus points to put themselves on course to go top of the LV= Insurance County Championship Division One.

Kyle Abbott took his season tally to 53 wickets to remain the leading wicket-taker in Division One with four for 52, while Keith Barker joined him in second with three for 41 and one for 34.

Northamptonshire were forced to follow on after suffering a 225-run first-innings deficit, but Emilio Gay’s excellent season continued with a classy 74 as the visitors ended the day 153 for three – still 72 runs behind.

Hampshire will go at least level with leaders Surrey, who do not play in this round, with a victory moving them eight points clear.

After a fair batting day, conditions very much favoured bowling, with Keith Barker, Mohammad Abbas and Abbott relentless in their probing.

With such heavy rain coming overnight and in the morning, it was a testament to Simon Lee and his ground staff – along with the new outfield laid last winter – that play started only 45 minutes later than scheduled.

When it did Hampshire needed just five overs to make their first breakthrough. Emilio Gay had been almost perfect in his defence the previous evening but clipped to square leg with only three runs added in the morning.

From then on it was rather a procession, with the remaining eight wickets falling in 33 overs.

Josh Cobb pulled to the catcher at short mid-wicket, Rob Keogh edged behind to Aneurin Donald for a 10-ball duck, and Ricardo Vasconcelos – having unfurled a lovely cover drive first ball – pushed to second slip.

After lunch, James Sales was yorked to the first ball on resumption by Barker.

Luke Procter had ground out 40 at the other end with watchfulness and skill against the moving ball, but his downfall was a James Fuller over always destined to take a wicket.

Fuller, in his first over of the match, bowled two short balls to destabilise Procter, beat his outside edge before clipping the edge of the bat to the final ball of the over with a snorter.

Tom Taylor had attempted to dig in but edged behind, Lizaad Williams sliced to point and Ben Sanderson was bowled to wrap things up. Northamptonshire bowled out for 175 and stuck straight back in with a 225-run deficit.

A fresh innings saw a return to Gay and Will Young battening down the hatches and bedding in. The duo put on 68 in the first innings and looked unmovable when amassing 98 in the second.

Gay was particularly impressive in his fifth half-century of the campaign, refusing to get bogged down with crafty shot-making while still prizing his wicket.

Young was less fluent, with three-quarters of his four boundaries coming when the bowling erred onto his pads. He largely avoided playing at anything he didn’t need to until Ian Holland forced him to nibble at one on a fourth stump line to nick behind.

Procter was also victim to a jaffa as Barker found bounce just back of a length to also edge behind, before Gay was lbw to Fuller two overs later. Bad light once again ended the day early.

Day Two

Words by Alex Smith, ECB Reporters Network

Aneurin Donald fell six runs short of an explosive century but tailender Kyle Abbott’s 57 pilfered full batting points for Hampshire in their quest for the LV= Insurance County Championship title.

Hampshire pulverised Northamptonshire’s bowling attack with 171 runs coming in 28 overs with Donald’s 84-ball 94 and Abbott’s 45-delivery barrage doing heavy damage.

Having been 167-5 and 273-7, the idea of reaching 400 for maximum points seemed fanciful, but Abbott was astonishing in making sure the last wicket got the 46 runs required, to maintain the pressure on leaders Surrey.

Having declared at 400, Northamptonshire were brilliant in their defence, with only Will Young falling before reaching 77-1 at the close.

An all-action, but all-too-brief, half an hour morning session before the rain hit, saw Liam Dawson half-driving to second slip to the seventh ball of the day and Donald reach his half-century in 53 balls.

When play returned, with Hampshire 273-6, it proved a breathless 20-over afternoon.

It started well for Northamptonshire when Luke Procter bowled Barker with the first ball on the resumption, but from then on boundaries were a regular occurrence and runs flowed.

It was peak Donald as he mixed the glorious drives with agricultural aggression. One over he was swatting a six and swinging hard and getting an edge over the slips, the next he’d be caressing through the covers.

The Welshman has a skill of lifting the run rate regardless of the match situation, and more often than not makes a telling contribution, with this his third fifty in 10 innings this season.

On his comeback game, against Gloucestershire in May, after two years without playing after twice breaking his leg, he scored 89. Again, looking on course for three figures he fell six runs shy when he was lbw to Josh Cobb when attempting an uncharacteristic sweep shot.

He’d added 63 runs in 52 balls with the equally boisterous James Fuller – who was caught at mid-on after the highest of skiers soon after. Hampshire were 354-9, possibly happy with four batting points but allowed Mohammad Abbas to keep Abbott company for a while.

“A while” turned out to be just over eight overs of happy-go-lucky batting which totted up 46 runs. No.10 Abbott naturally took the majority of the strike and intelligently swung hard to claim seven fours and two memorably long sixes. It was his 11th first-class half-century and first since last April.

A single, off an inside edge, took the score to 400 and brought about the declaration. The extraordinary session saw 127 runs pour in 119 balls, and the final wicket pair unbroken on 46.

Will Young and Emilio Gay were impeccable in the face of the highest, fourth and sixth-highest wicket-takers in Division One.

The movement off the pitch was less than Ben Sanderson and Co managed the previous day but the opening duo’s technique and resolve, especially when leaving the ball, saw them through the new ball.

They managed to get through to the 20th over with the light ever dimming before Young was trapped on the creased and leg before to Abbott. Eventually bad light stopped play with the deficit still 323 runs.

Day One

Words by Alex Smith, ECB Reporters Network

Felix Organ continued his fine form with 71 as LV= Insurance County Championship title-chasing Hampshire batted out a truncated even day with Northamptonshire.

Opening batter Organ ended the Royal London Cup with a 54 in the semi-final against Kent Spitfires, having scored 72, 118, 41 and 65 in his last four Championship matches.

He also almost single-handedly helped his club side, Winchester-based St Cross Symondians, to the ECB Southern Premier League title on Saturday with a masterful 135, in addition to four wickets.

Against Northamptonshire, he put on 50-stands with Joe Weatherley and Nick Gubbins to take Hampshire to 229 for five at close – with Jack White claiming two for 35.

Organ started the season batting at No.7, in the team predominantly for his off-spin option in the fourth innings.

But after Weatherley damaged his finger in the slips against Lancashire, he was promoted to open – his more familiar position – and immediately made an impact with a century.

He slumped with a lean spell but arrived in this match averaging 46 in his previous seven innings.

Having been put in by Will Young on a green-tinged wicket and seen his opening partner Ian Holland edge to second slip to the first ball he faced, Organ faced a great deal of pressure.

But the 23-year-old was compact with the ball nipping around, with Ben Sanderson particularly finding good subtle movement to find the outside edge of Weatherley’s bat to again find Emilio Gay at second slip.

Organ set up deep in his crease with an off-stump guard, and knew exactly where his stumps were, even if there were regular plays and misses from either end either side of the early lunch – with rain and bad light eventually lobbing 34 overs off the day.

He particularly peppered the off side although his fifty came up with a sumptuous straight drive off 88 balls.

With him, Gubbins and James Vince showed moments of their carefree nature but failed to capitalise on solid starts.

Luke Procter entered the attack, got cut for four by Gubbins but found movement in off the seam to bowl the left-hander for 23, while Vince was caught behind for 19.

Organ eventually departed when he failed to move his feet to White and feathered off the under-toe of the bat to Ricardo Vasconcelos.

But Liam Dawson and Aneurin Donald briskly put on 62 unbeaten runs, with the latter often showing glamour with his driving ability before the light worsened to end play just after 6pm.

Hampshire are hoping to get a jump of title rivals Surrey in this round of fixture, but the forecast is not looking too kind to their bid for a first Championship since 1973.