A fantastic century from Ian Holland (101) was not enough to see Hampshire Second XI claim victory over a strong Sussex Second XI side as they were defeated by two wickets in the 50-over fixture at the Ageas Bowl.
Former England ODI all-rounder Michael Yardy (90) was the key figure for the visitors as they successfully chased down Hampshire’s competitive first-innings total, after Holland had initially guided the hosts to 298-6 batting first.
After winning the toss and electing to bat first, Hampshire recovered from the early loss of Lewis McManus (17) to reach an excellent 178-1 after just 30 overs, thanks largely in part to a 152-run partnership between Holland and the in-form Tom Alsop (71).
The duo looked in great touch as both brought up their deserved half-centuries guiding Hampshire to an exceptional start. However, the loss of Alsop sparked a small collapse as four quick wickets fell for 59 runs, including that of Holland, who had just previously reached his century at just less than a run a ball.
A late surge of hard-hitting from Andy Gorvin (41) Tom Friend (35*) saw Hampshire recover well and a final ten-over flurry ensured they reached a substantial total from their allotted overs.
In reply, the early dismissals of Harry Finch (1) and Craig Cachopa (32) didn’t deter former Australian international George Bailey (76) and Yardy from seizing the momentum. The duo shared a 108-run partnership to see the away-side reach 183-3 before Bailey fell to the impressive Tom Barber (2-40).
Despite the loss of his partner, Yardy continued to bat positively and as he was joined by the equally aggressive P Salt (64), the pair advanced the total to close in on the required target.
Yardy eventually fell with just 28 runs needed, but the loss of five wickets for just 22 runs, thanks mostly to a dazzling spell from Mason Crane (3-79).
With seven runs still needed and only two wickets remaining, a nail-biting finish looked to be likely however FJ Hudson-Prentice ensured this was not the case with back-to-back boundaries sealing the win with 14 deliveries remaining.
Words: Will Brewster