Monday, 31 May 2010

Nearly undone by an Aussie!

Scotland haven't done bad for overseas players in the past, Rahul Dravid springs to mind, but their current one has an IPL contract and captains an entire island!! George Bailey isn't a bad little batsman and he put Hampshire's 'bowlers' to the sword. 90 off 92 balls, hitting almost half the innings 4s and all of the innings 6s perhaps says just as much about Scotland as it does about his own batting abilities. At one point it looked like Hampshire's fairly meagre 237 wasn't going to be enough as Bailey and that famous Scotsman Omer Hussain took their innings to 123-1, and with Hampshire using four bowlers + Ervine to no great effect I thought we were in for another humiliation. Thankfully Pothas didn't have another brain melt and stuck with Wood and Tomlinson, new ball pair extraordinaires, and soon the predictable collapse came. Wood furthered his one day reputation with 3 wickets and bowled tidily, taking the first and the last two wickets of the Scotland innings. Tommo was his dependable self as he too took three wickets. Herath was in economical wicket taking spell shocker too, as he picked up two important wickets in two overs to end with 2-35 from 8 overs. Tommo got the big fish though as he tickled Bailey's edge and Pothas snaffled the catch.

Earlier in the day Hampshire made hard work of another pretty benign Rose Bowl wicket, Lumb playing a god awful innings and getting out for 0 from 9 balls. Carbs also fell cheaply but from then on Adams, Slug, McKenzie, Pothas and Dawson built an eventually good enough total. Annoyingly Slug couldn't build on a very fluent and aggressive 43, but Cork, seemingly better with bat in hand than with ball in hand, added respectability with a brutal 28 at 2 a ball and with 3 sixes.

Kent now await in the 20/20 slog, and rumour has it that two players will make a return from injury for Hampshire...

Saturday, 22 May 2010

The definition of a thumping

They say things come in threes, but sadly today wasn't our third win in a row, but only the second (maybe the Yorkshire game will be the third?). It was nice to see the South's usual nice summer weather spread North a bit for once, as Edgbaston was sweltering on a glorious May day. Hampshire batted first, and Lumb was jinxed by the pre-match talk as he fell in the second over to Rankin for 5. It turned out that this was in fact an anti - blessing in disguise, as Michael Carberry joined Jimmy Adams at the crease. The wicket was firm, it was true and most importantly it was easy for the Hampshire batsmen to score off. And boy did they score off them. Carbs' 50 came off 31 balls, and he eventually fell for 103, hitting 16 fours and 3 sixes in his innings. At the other end Adams was a bit more circumspect (relative to Carbs), but still was finding the boundaries with ease.

They didn't do too badly, these two...

Ervine was next man in and he only lasted 20 odd balls. Thankfully though he was scoring at a strike rate of nearly 200 and departed for 48. Predictably the innings faltered a bit as it often does after a few monster partnerships, as Vince then Pothas quickly fell without doing much damage. Corky was sent in ahead of Dawson to up the rate (like it really needed it to be honest), and proceeded to hit a 4 and a 6 in a late blitz. Adams succumbed in the 40th over for 131, a fine innings. Adams is particularly strong on the pull and straight down the ground, so it would have been a folly for him to fail on a wicket that offered such even and fair bounce. Dawson came in to face the last few balls, hitting a four to end the innings on 4 from two balls, and Hampshire's own score at 341-6 with the full 40 overs completed.

The dangerous Carter thankfully did not last too long, thankfully, and fell for 20 in Warwickshire's reply. England regulars Trott and Bell then gave a good impression of looking like they would chase the target, especially after carting Corky for 22 in the 8th over. However, Slug was having none of it as he induced a careless stroke from Bell to pick out the fielder at square leg and so depart for a very quick 41. From there the innings subsided horribly (fantastic!), as Trott couldn't keep up the pace and fell for 60. It was a bit like beating up kittens as the rest of the order crumbled under the *ahem* lethal bowling of Slug, Herath and teenager Wood. Keith Barker slogged a few but Rankin spooned Wood to Lumb at deep mid off to signal the end of the Warwickshire innings as Hampshire won by 130 runs. Slug finished with 4-39, and Carberry picked up the man of the match, though Adams and Ervine could easily have won it too. All in all a right Royal thumping.

Thursday, 20 May 2010


Neil McKenzie I love you in a completely manly way. All those doubts I had about you? Decoys, Neil, decoys. A century and a vital 50 run partnership with Rangana Herath (another one I had my doubts over) capped off a fine match for the South African, who also hit a very brisk 50 in the first innings. 7 balls left in the match, 8 wickets down, 6 required to get the very first win in all forms of the season, and what does McKenzie do? Smashes the ball over the ropes for a six.

Benham did a Benham and got 45, whilst none of the others really got anywhere. All the more praise for Neil then, as he rammed the victory down the throats of the previously unbeaten Notts team and their cocky supporters ("Come on boys, let's make it 4 out of 4"). The day started slowly, needing 284 or something to win with all 10 wickets left. Adams and Dawson got the score up to 42, before both fell quickly. McKenzie and Benham then put on the innings defining partnership, before there was a real wobble/ collapse/ business as usual - Benham, Vince, Pothas, Ervine, Cork and Balcombe all got out cheaply to leave McKenzie and Herath in the middle still with over 50 runs to get, and just Tommo left in the hutch. Obviously Tommo would have smashed the 50 needed by himself in 2 overs, but he wanted Herath to finally make a meaningful contribution and didn't it work wonders. The fact that the run rate never went above 3 an over after the second over highlights perhaps the confidence that was missing from the team. However this victory is similar to Ervine's show at May's Bounty against Durham - the finest non-century I think I've ever seen.

Yorkshire are the opponents on Monday, and they'll be smarting from their first loss of the season to Somerset. We on the other hand will be (finally) awaiting the ECB's video highlights with more than a little anticipation.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Dangerous Tommo

After a pretty poor 2009 season, everyone's second favourite Winchesterite (sorry, but Jimmy Adams comes top of that particular list) is getting back to the sort of form that saw him demolish Somerset and finish top of the country's wicket takers in 2008. 5 wickets yesterday signalled the return of the man with the only left arm fast bowling in the Hampshire squad, and he'll be looking to build on this good start to the season, being given the job of leading the attack with the injury to Kabir.

Little is known of Tomlinson. Some say he was raised by bears, but I don't remember seeing any colonies of bears in Winchester high street, so I'm less inclined to believe that particular story. Either way he's back and his back is not playing up, so a good season with the ball in both forms of the game will maintain his 'dangerous' reputation.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Please, won't somebody think of the CC?!

The County Championship as we know it must be preserved! As I'm sure is common knowledge, the ECB, in their infinite wisdom, intend to tinker with the format of the County Championship. That jewell in the British Crown, only matched in Britishness by fish and chips, the Met Office and fly-tipping. I implore you to add your name to this petition, in an effort to make the ECB realise the mistake they could be making:

Super Slug

Well he did it. The guy who had scored just 4 centuries for us since joining in 2005 (three of those centuries were last season) has taken Hampshire from a typically perilous position to one where we might *yikes!* 512 all out reads even better considering the usual collapse yesterday to something like 129-5. I thought all was lost when Pothas and Cork departed late last night with the score still on 287, and Slug was on 75* with Herath coming in at number 9. Having done a two hour Archaeology exam this morning, I located a computer to try and find out how close Somerset were to our first innings score but low, Slug was still there and Tomlinson was at the other end in at number 10.

"382-8! Please get us to 400, that would be an achievement!"

Little did I know. The pair racked up a 130 run partnership for the ninth wicket, Tommo eventually falling for 42, a fine innings that put most of the top order to shame. Griffiths then hung around, as Slug battered all and sundry, taking the innings to 512, and his own score to a mighty 237*, before Griffiths fell to Compton. Griff made amends for this howler by trapping Tresco lbw for 41, whilst Herath took down the Malaysian, Suppiah, to end Somerset's innings for the day on 104-2, still 408 runs behind.

Of course Somerset will knock up a huge score too, then we'll collpase to hand victory to them on the last day, but please give me this for today, please?

Sunday, 9 May 2010


Ok time for a bit of 'What Not' in that, overlooking Hampshire's continued failings and Middlesex's confirmation of Hampshire's crapness, I finally saw a victory yesterday. No not on a cricket pitch but on a rectangle field in the wind and occasionally driving rain (hence why I couldn't join in your chat, Wes, sorry!). Truly the season of two halves, as the mighty Bath ran in 5 tries against woeful Leeds to secure a spot on the play-offs next week. It has been a remarkable reversal of fortunes. From September until Christmas day, Bath had played 10 Premiership games. They had won 1, drawn 2 and lost 7, and sat second from bottom and only 2 points away from relegation. What followed was thus: A win against Gloucester (our first home win of the season), a win away to Leeds (who were bottom of the table), a bonus point win at London Irish, a bonus point win at home to Worcester, a win at Saracens, a win at Newcastle, a win at home to Harlequins, the one defeat away to Leicester, a bonus point win at home to Sale, a win at home to Northampton, a bonus point win away to Wasps and a bonus point win yesterday. Making the post-Christmas record 12 matches played, 11 games won, and 49 points accrued.

So from 11th (second-bottom), Bath finished the season in 4th, and a trip to Leicester awaits in the semi-finals (next saturday). It was quite a miss-match yesterday. No points were scored in the first 20 minutes but from there Bath took control. A series of scrums close to the line broke down Leeds, with Butch James and Barkley spinning it out wide for Abendanon to score in the corner. This was soon followed by another try, and Watson broke from another scrum, passed to Claassens, who dummied and ran in under the posts. A further penalty made in 17-0 at half time. A couple of penalties were exchanged before Matt Banahan stormed down the wing shrugging off two would-be tacklers and diving in in the corner. Then followed the try of the match, as Claassens and Banahan moved the ball from right to left on half-way, Barkley cut back, offloading to Abendanon who brought it from left to right, Dixon cut through the defence, then quick handling from James and Barkley saw Abendanon with the ball on the right touchline about 20 metres out. Leeds openside, Oakley, appeared to have Abendanon covered, but managed to let him turn and slip past with literally centimetres between him and the touchline. Abendanon then dived in to score the 4th try.

Another well played move down the right sent try machine Maddock in for the 5th try and his 46th and final try for the club. Final score 39-3.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Oh deary me

I think I've passed the point of 'should I laugh or cry?'. Now I just chuckle with a sense of despair. Once again the match went from dodgy for Hampshire to strong position to win, to dead on draw, to defeat. Same result, different team this time as Notts emulated Durham and Warwickshire in knocking off the meagre total set by our frankly disasterous batting.

To compound this, there was the injury count. Leading wicket taker Kabir went off clutching his knee. Captain and 'keeper Pothas fell awkwardly and has buggered his hand. Apparently Corky took over the gloves, then when he was needed to try and get a break through, club fitness coach and ex-Portsmouth goalie Brunchy came on and kept wicket! It doesn't end there though. Brunchy was replaced by Bates, with Riazuddin and Howell putting in appearences as various players fell down. So where does this leave Hampshire for the Somerset game? Pff, you expect me to know?! I'll take a guess at the team though. In my view we now have nothing to lose. Therefore I'll be brave and go with:

Adams (Captain extrordinaire)
Bates (wk)

To be honest they can't play much worse than the current lot. McKenzie has been very poor, Benham repeatedly messes up his chances, and the injuries have to be addressed. I'm expecting a few sly comments from Wes, especially if the Middle pull off that chase against Sussex tomorrow... :(

Monday, 3 May 2010


Well what would you know? Hampshire collapsed AGAIN to hand victory to Notts yesterday in a 40 over (reduced to 26) match after Carbs and Adams had set up an excellent platform from which to chase down the gettable target. Good news on the bowling front though, as Corky made a great return with 3-30 from 5 overs, he'll surely play tomorrow in the first championship match at home to Notts. If we lose this one then all I can hope for from the Championship is survival, which on current form looks like wishful thinking...