Fightback keeps alive hopes of Great Escape

Gareth Berg added vital runs on day two. Picture: Dave Vokes/LMI Photography
Gareth Berg added vital runs on day two. Picture: Dave Vokes/LMI Photography
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LIAM DAWSON has vowed Hampshire will continue their charge to complete a Championship Great Escape against Nottinghamshire.

Dale Benkenstein’s side produced a battling display on the second day at Trent Bridge as they bid to keep their place in Division One.

When bad light took the players from the field with more than 13 overs remaining, the visitors had reached 298 for eight in their first innings – trailing Notts by only 57 runs.

That didn’t appear on the cards after they were rocked on the first morning as Harry Gurney, who returned figures of three for 58, ripped the top order apart.

Dawson top-scored, making 69 from 97 balls, as Hampshire gave themselves a chance of survival.

He believes that mission is now achievable as his side look to Yorkshire to do them a favour against Sussex.

Dawson said: ‘We bat a long way down and keep battling, that’s the make-up of our team.

‘From the position we were in at lunch, to come as close to the Notts score as we are now we’ve given ourselves a chance.

‘If we win this game and Yorkshire do us a favour, we stay up.

‘But all we can do is keep trying to win here at Trent Bridge.’

Gurney made a quick impact, removing Jimmy Adams for 19 with his first delivery of the match.

He then followed up by having Will Smith caught for three and taking Vince’s wicket for 42. Brett Hutton picked up the other wicket to fall during the morning, trapping Michael Carberry lbw for 11.

Dawson’s brave vigil ended when Steven Mullaney pinned him deep in the crease, with umpire Steve O’Shaughnessy upholding the loud roar for lbw.

Facing a deficit of more than three figures, Hampshire kept their hopes intact of being able to turn the match around and pull off an unlikely victory as Gareth Berg and Ryan McLaren joined forces.

With Berg finding the boundary at every opportunity and McLaren playing a mainly defensive supporting role, the pair added an unbroken 95 before deteriorating conditions curtailed play.

Meanwhile, Hampshire yesterday released Joe Gatting, Tom Barber and Basil Akram.

While Gatting scored 280 runs in his four County Championship appearances this summer, the trio had all found their first-team opportunities limited.

Director of cricket Giles White said: ‘All three have been popular members of the squad. It’s always a sad time but we would like to thank them for their hard work and commitment over the last two years and we wish them well for the future.’