Freak deluge robs Hampshire of crucial chance

Giles White amid puddles on the Ageas Bowl outfield. Picture: Neil Marshall
Giles White amid puddles on the Ageas Bowl outfield. Picture: Neil Marshall
Hampshire's James Vince hits a six during the NatWest T20 Blast Finals Day at Edgbaston, Birmingham. PPP-170309-212743001

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Hampshire were left frustrated as their NatWest T20 Blast derby against Sussex Sharks at the Ageas Bowl was abandoned shortly before it was due to start.

At 6pm the groundstaff looked set to win their battle against the elements and get the game on.

Everything was ready to go when the stadium was hit by a freak 10-minute deluge of rain and hailstones.

Although the groundstaff managed to get the covers on, it was too late and a number of large puddles formed in and around the wicket.

It was a huge disappointment for players, coaching staff and spectators alike.

Both teams were awarded a point each but Hampshire director of cricket Giles White was massively frustrated his side were denied the chance to pick up both points.

‘Ten minutes of rain put paid to the game and I think it caught everyone by surprise,’ he said.

‘No-one saw it coming and it wasn’t even on the weather radar.

‘I have not seen a shower that heavy in my time and unfortunately it wrote the game off.

‘The ground staff are excellent here and do a fantastic job, it is just that the shower was astonishingly heavy.

‘They did their very best in extreme conditions but couldn’t prevent water getting on the wicket.’

With just one win so far in their twenty20 campaign, Hampshire were desperate for the chance to get the win.

The ‘El Classicoast’ derby is also one of the biggest games in the club’s calendar.

Hampshire now face the prospect of going to Somerset tomorrow – where the legendary figure of Chris Gayle awaits them – needing a win.

White added: ‘We need to win games so we were keen to play.

‘It is a point and they have been difficult to come by but we need more than that at this stage.

‘The cricket we have played so far hasn’t been consistent or up to our usual standard.

‘Yesterday was a day when we could have got our campaign going.

‘We were targeting two wins this week to get back on track

‘We are only two wins away from getting ourselves back up and running and in with a shout.

‘But we have to accept the unusual circumstances and get on with it.’

Hampshire were particularly disappointed because they were fielding one of their strongest line-ups so far.

Opener Michael Carberry was back from injury and James Vince free from England duty.

White said: ‘We had guys coming back at the top of the order who have been the mainstay of our t20 cricket.

‘They have been missed and having them back in the side would have been a big bonus.

‘We just need to get out there and start playing and performing.’