Hampshire in control after rain-affected first day

David Balcombe. Picture: Neil Marshall
David Balcombe. Picture: Neil Marshall
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When this season’s Championship division two fixture list came out, Hampshire’s trip to Cardiff in April always looked vulnerable to the weather.

Perhaps David Balcombe took note of the forecast and knew that if he was to continue his hot streak, he would have to act quickly.

But as Hampshire dodged the succession of showers, Glamorgan’s batsmen failed to dodge the Balcombe bullets that continued to fly in their direction.

The rejuvenated pace bowler was the star for Jimmy Adams’ side once again with his five-wicket haul on day one of their clash.

Although the Welsh club have lost their two opening fixtures with miserable batting displays at the heart of their failures, they surprisingly opted to bat when they won the toss under cloudy skies and with favourable bowling conditions predicted by many.

Balcombe, unsurprisingly, licked his lips and Hampshire’s batsmen – who failed to fire in their opener against Gloucuestershire – probably breathed a quiet sigh of relief that they would be in the field.

Balcombe – who took career best figures of 11 for 119 in the Gloucestershire match – struck the first blow to remove Stewart Walters.

He then had to wait until just before lunch to claim his second victim as Jim Allenby was trapped lbw. By that time, Glamorgan were in disarray at 65 for five – with Chris Wood (two for 25), Hamza Riazuddin (one for 20) and even Danny Briggs (one for eight) all chipping in to share the workload.

But it was after an extended lunch break – a result of one of several hefty showers – that Balcombe really took centre stage with a fearsome spell that Glamorgan simply couldn’t handle.

William Bragg (45), who looked the only Glamorgan batsman who could stick around, departed thanks to a fabulous Liam Dawson one-handed slip catch as Wood grabbed his second wicket – but it was his team-mate who took control soon afterwards.

Moises Henriques (eight), Graham Wagg (four) and Dean Cosker (nought) all fell inside eight Balcombe deliveries before another downpour looked to have ended the day’s play early.

However, the skies cleared and Glamorgan skipper Mark Wallace made a strange decision to declare the innings at 103 for nine. The idea was to give his bowlers an hour at Hampshire’s top order, rather than eke out some extra valuable runs.

As it was, only Jimmy Adams perished to leave the visitors resuming their innings on 29 for one and Hampshire looking well in command if their batsmen can deliver tomorrow.