Howell stars as Royals thrash Northants

Hampshire's batting was firing on all cylinders against Northants
Hampshire's batting was firing on all cylinders against Northants
James Vince. Picture: Sarah Standing (170455-8793)

Vince relishing ‘second chance’

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Benny Howell and Liam Dawson blasted explosive half-centuries as the Royals demolished the Northants Steelbacks by a mammoth 174 runs in their CB40 Group B clash.

Howell smashed an unbeaten 84 runs off just 54 balls, including six fours and three sixes.

While Dawson weighed in with 70 off 66 balls as the Royals piled up 307 for six from their 40 overs last night.

The Steelbacks were woeful in response as they collapsed to 133 all out with Ben Howgego absent hurt as Chris Wood took three for 34.

Only home captain Andrew Hall’s 44 not out provided any resistance.

The Royals won the toss and chose to bat.

And they started confidently before losing James Vince for 38 off 23 balls when he chipped David Lucas straight to David Willey at extra cover.

Lucas then accounted for Hampshire captain Jimmy Adams for 23 when he was caught by Willey at deep extra cover before he trapped Michael Carberry leg before wicket for a single.

Sean Ervine bludgeoned 38 off 34 deliveries before launching James Middlebrook to Willey at long-off.

Dawson reached 50 off 48 balls by smashing James Middlebrook for six over midwicket before he perished by top-edging Lucas to Evans at short third man.

Dimi Mascarenhas hit 26 off just 16 balls before giving Lucas his five-for by launching him to substitute Rob Keogh at long-on.

Howell then completed his half-century off 44 balls as the hosts conceded their highest total in a 40-over match.

Chasing a huge 308, the Steelbacks lost Mal Loye on just the third ball of their reply when he was pinned lbw by David Griffiths before Rob White (six) swept Mascarenhas to Dawson at deep square leg.

The hosts’ wicketkeeper Niall O’Brien walked on 22 as he mistimed his scoop shot off Wood and was easily caught by Ervine at backward point.

Rob Newton (22) was next to fall when he chipped Wood to Vince at midwicket, before the same bowler bowled Middlebrook for a six-ball duck.

Chaminda Vaas (one) continued the Steelbacks’ miserable procession when he was caught by Ervine at slip off Mascarenhas.

Ervine was brought on in the 17th over and he forced both Willey (one) and Lucas (four) to edge behind to Royals wicketkeeper Michael Bates.

With Howgego not fit enough to bat, the final nail in the coffin was hammered down when Luke Evans (18) launched Imran Tahir to Wood at long-on, sealing the hosts’ second-heaviest defeat in one-day cricket.

n Hants spin-bowler Danny Briggs has been called up to the England Lions squad to face Sri Lanka A in a three-match one-day series starting on August 12.

It means that the young left-armer will miss his team’s crunch County Championship clash at Durham and CB40 fixture against the Scottish Saltires at Aberdeen.

Briggs has been in top form for the Royals this season.

Achieving best-ever Championship figures of six for 65 against Nottinghamshire at The Rose Bowl last week, he has picked up almost 60 wickets in all competitions so far this summer.

This follows on from an excellent winter with England’s reserve team in which Briggs bowled more than 300 overs, taking in excess of 50 wickets in Australia and the West Indies.