First day a damp squib as Hampshire lose crucial toss

Simon Katich. Picture: Neil Marshall
Simon Katich. Picture: Neil Marshall
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A year ago almost to the day on June 5, a Friends Life t20 fixture between Kent and Hampshire at Tunbridge Wells turned into an extraordinary five-over slog after the rain and incessant gloom lifted for just long enough to allow for a game.

Jimmy Adams and Michael Lumb then carted just about everything to the boundary to clock up eight sixes between them in an extravagant total of 78.

This time around, Adams’ side didn’t prosper in quite the same way as they ended the day’s play on just 50 for three – with barely an hour possible on day one.

While it didn’t exactly pelt down all day, the weekend’s weather accounted for the morning session with a damp pitch that was deemed unfit for play by the umpires.

And considering it was rain from Saturday night that had delayed the start of a game on Wednesday, it didn’t paint the use of an out ground in a particularly positive light.

At most first-class grounds with the same weather conditions, play would have started on time – or at least a lot earlier than it did.

As it was, with the crowd growing increasingly restless at the sight of sunshine and the players warming up for an hour, play finally started at 4.15pm.

It was then abandoned for the day at about 5.45pm – half an hour after everyone had trudged off again.

After Adams had lost the kind of toss that can lose you a game with the flick of a coin, Hampshire had an hour’s worth of battling on a pitch that unsurprisingly was more than helpful to the Kent seamers.

Even before the first ball was bowled, there was plenty to discuss in the Hampshire line-up as they made two changes to the side that beat Glamorgan last time out.

Out went James Vince and Chris Wood, while Bilal Shafayat and Dimi Mascarenhas got the nod.

There was also a significant change to the order as Michael Carberry – invincible in the CB40 competition of late – was promoted to partner Adams at the top of the innings to replace Liam Dawson.

Unfortunately, the left-hander was unable to replicate his limited overs form and was the first wicket to fall as he feathered Charlie Shreck to the wicketkeeper with the score on just 11.

Shafayat (nine) was the next to go, shuffling across his crease and trapped by Mark Davies, despite some pleasing strokes in his short stay.

And when Adams (eight) was hit on the front foot after a lengthy stay, things looked bleak.

Simon Katich (21 not out) and Dawson (five not out) were there when play was called off for the day in the 16th over and much will depend on how they fare on day two.

Then again, they could be sat in the pavilion watching the rain fall again.

It seems that’s what usually happens in Tunbridge Wells.