Puffed cheeks all round as Hampshire snatch first win

Liam Dawson smashed 40 off just 28 balls. Picture: Neil Marshall
Liam Dawson smashed 40 off just 28 balls. Picture: Neil Marshall
James Vince. Picture: Sarah Standing (170455-8793)

Vince relishing ‘second chance’

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If anyone needed reminding, Hampshire never do things the easy way.

Posting a mighty 274 for five in their 40-over clash with Warwickshire, a healthy Rose Bowl crowd might have expected a pleasant stroll in the sunshine for their troops.

But this is Hampshire and it came down to a nerve-jangling final over.

Warwickshire required four to win from the final ball before Dominic Cork’s men could finally celebrate their first success of the campaign at the third time of asking.

It was a vast improvement in the batting that set the Royals on their way to the three-run success with a display that echoed of last season’s t20 victory.

Batting first, Jimmy Adams (20) and Johann Myburgh (64) put on 76 for the first wicket, while James Vince added a fluent 37 to leave the score at 148 for three in the 25th over.

But it was Neil McKenzie who played the key innings.

His composure ensured there was no batting collapse – as there has been in the Championship already this season – before a superb acceleration late in the innings.

Liam Dawson made a quickfire 40 from 28 balls to continue his good early form with the bat but it was McKenzie who shone with a fine unbeaten 87.

And it was his efforts in a vital last over – plundering 24 runs off the bowling of Chris Woakes with a succession of boundaries – that boosted the total to an imposing figure that looked far too many for the Bears to chase.

Warwickshire made heavy weather of the first phase of their reply.

They found themselves at 48 for three in the 11th over with Simon Jones finding some of his old magic to push through the 90mph barrier and collect the early wickets of William Porterfield and Keith Barker.

When Varun Chopra (54) was run out and the visitors 111 for five, the Royals appeared to ease off the pedal, though.

Darren Maddy (49) and Rikki Clarke (59) began to find the boundary with alarming regularity to suddenly bring the game back into the balance with a fine 87-run partnership.

Maddy enjoyed one huge slice of luck when he was on 34.

McKenzie – who had earlier taken a tremendous slip catch – produced his own personal audition for Britain’s Got Talent with a decidedly dodgy piece of juggling as he made no less than five attempts to take a straightforward catch, only for it to hit the deck.

Chris Woakes (34 not out) kept his side in the game until the final delivery with a maximum off Cork’s penultimate ball.

But, with four needed, the Hampshire skipper kept his nerve to cue puffed cheeks all round from the Royals as they celebrated a narrow victory.