Teenage kicks are only boost as Hampshire suffer

Suzie Bates

Vipers lose as rain puts dampener on home clash

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Brad Taylor was the sole reason for cheer after another disappointing day for Hampshire in the County Championship.

The Ageas Bowl outfit have struggled to mount a serious promotion bid this summer.

And their hopes of delivering a late charge continued to evaporate against Lancashire at Southport yesterday.

But while his side toiled, the 16-year-old off-spinner ensured his first-class debut will be a memorable one as he took four for 64.

Already 250 runs behind the division two leaders, Hampshire were batted out of the game by Paul Horton (111) and Luis Reece (65).

The duo shared a stand of 166 for the first wicket before cameos from Ashwell Prince (38) and Andrea Agathangelou (28) extended the hosts’ lead to 496 runs before they decided to declare.

By that point, Taylor had seen off all four batsmen in his 14-over spell.

With just two one-day games under his belt, the Winchester-born talent was thrown in at the deep end this week.

But he wasted no time in proving his worth – as Hampshire yet again appear to have unearthed a promising young player.

It’s a pity then that his more experienced team-mates could not threaten the title favourites with the bat as they began their second innings with a match to save.

A stubborn Neil McKenzie knock of 44 was the high spot as they closed on 137 for seven – still 359 adrift and staring down the barrel of a third defeat in 12 matches.

On the bare face of it, that statistic does not look like any cause of concern.

However, the fact the Ageas Bowl side have only forced two wins in those games highlights their shortcomings.

It’s a far cry from the dominant Hampshire team of 1973 – who celebrated the 40th anniversary of their County Championship triumph yesterday.

It remains the county’s last taste of first-class glory – and the current crop have a long way to go to put that right.