Hampshire slipped to a pulsating five-run loss at Essex as their must-win Royal London One-Day Cup clash went down to the final ball.
Wicketkeeper Adam Wheater starred for the visitors with a sublime 135-run knock but Dale Benkenstein’s men fell just short of Essex’s total of 324 – confirming their exit from the competition.
Half-centuries from Jesse Ryder, Tom Westley and Ravi Bopara had laid the foundation for the home side’s imposing total.
But at one stage it did not look enough, as Wheater showed his liking for the home attack.
When he was eventually out, caught at mid-off by Graham Napier off Ryan ten Doeschate, Hampshire needed just 55 runs from 10 overs, with six wickets intact.
Wheater’s main accomplice was James Vince – the pair sharing in a partnership of 198 in 28 overs, a county record for any partnership against Essex in List A matches.
But after Wheater’s dismissal, the Hampshire innings disintegrated and they fell behind the asking rate in the face of some fine ground fielding and tight bowling.
The visitors lost five more wickets while adding 43 runs, including that of Chris Wood – who was run out by ten Doeschate off the penultimate ball.
James Tomlinson arrived with six runs needed to tie the match but he could only manage a single, ending any hopes Hampshire entertained by that stage.
– Jeff Marshman