20 Apr 2023 | LV= Insurance County Championship 2023
149 all out
63 for 9
482 for 8
Hampshire win by an innings and 270 runs

Day One

Words by Jeremy Blackmore ECB Reporters Network

Nick Gubbins and James Vince shared a record third wicket partnership for Hampshire against Northamptonshire as they made the hosts pay for a series of dropped catches on the opening day of this LV= Insurance County Championship clash at Wantage Road.

The pair put on 198 runs with Gubbins, out shortly before the close, making an excellent 125 off 249 deliveries with 15 boundaries, while Vince finished the day unbeaten on 104, Hampshire closing on 287 for four. In the process they broke the previous Hampshire record set by Phil Mead and Jack Newman at Southampton in 1927.

Gubbins flew almost under the radar at first with the focus on four dropped catches at the other end, but he batted with calm assurance from the get-go, playing fluently all around the wicket, stroking the ball across the field rather than taking the aerial route. His century comes just a week after his 84 against Surrey, the kind of form that had pundits tipping him for England honours a few years ago.

Vince profited after being put down at fine leg on 25 and took the more aggressive route of the pair. If less fluent than his partner, he played positively for his ton, reaching three figures with a late cut to the boundary ropes.

Northamptonshire’s hopes were raised early on when seamer Jack White struck in the second over of the day, but from then on, the home attack were made to toil largely in vain with three dropped catches off the unfortunate White. They maintained a disciplined line but runs looked increasingly easy to come by as the day wore on. The late wicket of Gubbins was just reward for White who was the pick of the bowlers.

White had seemed to justify skipper Luke Procter’s decision to put Hampshire into bat on a sunny but windy morning when he enticed the edge from Fletcha Middleton who drove at one outside off-stump and was well caught at slip by Gareth Berg.

It was to prove a rare moment of luck for Berg in the cordon. Felix Organ, who lived a charmed life against White, offered a series of edges which kept the slips interested. The big fast bowler was denied though when Berg shelled three chances at third slip with Organ on 15, 20 and 22 respectively. First Berg dived to his right but could only get his fingertips to the ball. The next chance flew between second and third slip before Organ nicked one at a comfortable catching height only for Berg to put it down.

The mistake did not prove too costly as Berg atoned for his earlier misses with ball in hand when he had Organ caught behind for 38.

Gubbins opted to keep things simple at the other end. He played a sweetly timed drive down the ground off Berg for four before playing the same bowler through the covers for another boundary. He was fluent on the legside too, whipping White behind square to take Hampshire into three figures, before dispatching Sanderson in similar fashion to bring up his half-century off 114 balls.

Meanwhile Vince twice clipped White through the legside to the ropes before he too was the lucky beneficiary of Northamptonshire’s jitters. He attempted to hook a well-directed short ball from Chris Tremain only to pick out Ben Sanderson, the man placed for the shot at fine leg, who put down a simple chance. Vince played the shot more convincingly against Luke Procter dissecting the field and picking up four runs before cutting Berg for another boundary. A flat-footed heave for four through the vacant second slip position took him to the verge of his first half-century of the summer.

Vince began the evening session positively taking two boundaries off the first over bowled by Sanderson, punching through the covers and playing through midwicket as Northamptonshire passed 200 in the 69th over. On 69 Vince survived a confident shout for leg before wicket from Rob Keogh, before sweeping the spinner behind square for four off the next delivery.

Gubbins reached his fourth century since joining Hampshire from Middlesex two years ago before he fell to a stunning diving catch at first slip by Ricardo Vasconcelos.

With light fading, James Fuller came in as nightwatchman and proceeded to play his shots, smiting Sanderson into the Turner Stand for six before the Northamptonshire seamer clean bowled him for 16.

With bad light calling an early halt to proceedings, Vince finished the day on 104 not out from 183 balls with 13 boundaries.

Day Two

Words by Ben Kosky ECB Reporters Network

James Vince’s classy knock of 186 guided Hampshire into a commanding position against Northamptonshire on a stop-start second day of their LV= Insurance County Championship match at Wantage Road.

The Hampshire captain spent almost six and a half hours at the crease, sharing a century stand with Ben Brown for the sixth wicket and underpinning his side’s total of 482 for eight declared.

Vince’s seamers immediately capitalised on that advantage as Mohammad Abbas claimed the wicket of Ricardo Vasconcelos with the first ball of Northamptonshire’s reply.

A spell of three wickets in five deliveries – one for Kyle Abbott and two for James Fuller – left the hosts deep in trouble, with Abbas picking up another as they clambered to 95 for five at stumps.

Vince, who resumed on 104 after an initial half-hour delay – the first of three stoppages due to rain – was quickly into his stride, steering Jack White through the slips for four to secure his team’s second batting bonus point.

At the other end, Ben Sanderson bowled with zip and guile for Northamptonshire, achieving a breakthrough in the third full over of the morning as Tom Prest edged him into the hands of second slip.

Brown, his replacement at the crease, was almost cut in half by another beauty from Sanderson and he rode his luck by surviving a strong leg before appeal, as well as miscuing a pull off White that fell to safety.

However, Northamptonshire’s attack otherwise lacked penetration – and the county will now recruit a new overseas bowler after confirming the cancellation of a stint for Australian quick Lance Morris, who had been due to replace compatriot Chris Tremain next month – due to a back problem.

Brown began to go for his shots and he and Vince appeared to be weighing up a dart towards 400 and a fourth bonus point prior to the cut-off, with 54 needed from 35 balls to get them there after lunch.

Despite eventually abandoning that pursuit, the pair put together a 125 partnership before Rob Keogh pinned Brown in front for a pugnacious 55.

Vince had no hesitation in using his feet to clout the spinner over the top and seemed on course to register a double hundred but he fell 14 short, drilling former team-mate Gareth Berg to mid-off where Tremain stretched to hold the catch above his head.

Liam Dawson and Ian Holland kept the scoreboard ticking over by adding a further 40 but, as soon as Dawson became Keogh’s second lbw victim, Hampshire pulled the plug on their innings.

That left Northamptonshire to face 43 overs and Abbas looked impatient to make inroads, his first delivery nipping through to trap Vasconcelos in front.

Hassan Azad – who at times employed a policy of dancing down the pitch to combat Abbas – and Sam Whiteman dug in for a stand of 47, with the latter keen to punish anything wide outside off stump.

But that solid foundation was blown away when Abbott dismissed Azad lbw without a playing a shot and Fuller had Whiteman taken in the slips before deploying a slow full toss that splayed Luke Procter’s stumps two balls later.

Josh Cobb counter-attacked, slamming Abbas to the rope three times in his undefeated 28, but the paceman struck again by having Keogh caught behind before bad light ended play.

Day Three

Words by Jeremy Blackmore ECB Reporters Network

Hampshire recorded the biggest ever County Championship win in their history as James Fuller helped skittle Northamptonshire twice in the space of just three hours at Wantage Road. It brought Hampshire victory by an innings and 270 runs and an unwelcome record for the hosts – their eighth heaviest defeat against any county opposition.

Following on after being bundled out for 149 before lunch, Northamptonshire limped to 63 all out in their second dig on day three of this LV= Insurance County Championship encounter.

Fuller bagged the hosts’ final four first innings wickets this morning – including a spell of four for nine – to add to the two he took last evening to finish with six for 37. Wickets then continued to fall as Northamptonshire started their second innings, as they slumped to 17 for five before lunch. A total of nine wickets had fallen in the session with Fuller reaching 200 career first-class scalps in the process.

Northamptonshire’s batters had no answer against an unrelenting Hampshire attack who extracted just enough bounce and movement to entice Northamptonshire’s batters to play down the wrong line or prod at balls outside off-stump. Their new ball pairing Mohammad Abbas (four for 31) and Kyle Abbott (three for nine) again proved why they are one of the most formidable on the circuit.

Josh Cobb’s 44 was the one bright spot in Northamptonshire’s first innings and only some lusty blows from Chris Tremain in the second meant they avoided their lowest ever total against Hampshire in first-class cricket.

Northamptonshire had resumed on 95 for five but were effectively six wickets down with keeper Lewis McManus unable to resume his innings after sustaining a broken finger yesterday evening.

Gareth Berg was the first to go when Fuller sent his middle stump cartwheeling. Cobb, who found the boundary early on, punching the ball square and driving sweetly down the ground, was the next to have his stumps rearranged when he played inside the line to one from Fuller which moved away and knocked over off-stump.

Ben Sanderson denied the Hampshire seamer his hattrick when he squeezed the ball out on the on side, but Fuller soon had his man when Sanderson steered a rising ball to cover point.

Tremain, playing the last game of a three-match stint for the Steelbacks, survived when Tom Prest shelled a regulation catch to his right at third slip off Abbott, only for the ball to run away to the boundary.

With wickets falling at the other end, Tremain decided to take the attack to Fuller and Abbott who targeted him with the short ball. He smashed one down the ground four and guided the ball over the slips for another boundary. He perished playing one big shot too many when he heaved at one from Fuller and was clean bowled for 16.

Hampshire skipper James Vince had no hesitation in asking Northamptonshire to follow on 333 behind with Ricardo Vasconelos on a pair. The opener had a nervous start, benefiting when Abbott put down a comfortable caught and bowled chance and only getting off the mark courtesy of an edge just wide of the slip cordon.

Hampshire soon prised open the door though. Hassan Azad departed without scoring, thanks to a good low take at first slip off Abbas. Vasconcelos soon followed when Abbott got one to deviate off the seam and hit the top of off-stump.

Sam Whiteman, who had attempted to break the shackles by cutting Abbas away for four, then had his off-stump knocked over when Abbott got one to seam back.

The pre-lunch procession continued when Rob Keogh was trapped leg before wicket without scoring, bringing Josh Cobb out to bat for the second time in the session. He was soon back in the pavilion though when he attempted an extremely tight second run and was run out thanks to some sharp work and a well-directed throw from Abbas at long leg.

Luke Procter came out positively after the interval, taking two boundaries off Fuller’s first over, including an upper cut over the slips but brief hopes of an unlikely recovery were dashed when Fuller found some swing to bowl the Northamptonshire skipper.

Berg played a sweet on drive for four but soon prodded at one from Abbas and was caught at second slip. Abbas also picked up Sanderson caught behind to leave Northamptonshire on 48 for eight, two behind their lowest ever total of 50 against Hampshire in first-class cricket. Tremain made sure that ignominy was avoided before he was bowled by Abbas to wrap up proceedings.