Royals keep their heads to show Scotland high road

Hampshire Royals captain Jimmy Adams Picture: Neil Marshall
Hampshire Royals captain Jimmy Adams Picture: Neil Marshall
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Quite how you make total mincemeat of Essex on Friday and then make such heavy weather of beating group minnows Scotland two days later is anyone’s guess.

But Hampshire Royals have been known to throw in the odd inconsistent display from time to time and this was certainly one of those as they notched a five-wicket victory.

After keeping the Saltires down to 192 for seven from their 40 overs, most predicted a Hampshire victory with plenty to spare considering their batting exploits in Chelmsford.

But while James Vince’s magnificent 129 not out lit up the Essex County Ground, there was nothing flowing about this Royals batting display.

In fact, it was decidedly stodgy and gritty. But it was enough for a second straight win and just about did the job at the end of the day.

There was precious little excitement on offer, with just a handful of boundaries to keep the Ageas Bowl crowd interested.

Hampshire, of course, will argue they got the job done and that Scotland should not be underestimated.

But as easy as it all looked in Chelmsford, it seemed a lot like hard work yesterday.

David Balcombe (two for 28) was the pick of the Hampshire bowlers, with Scotland skipper Preston Mommsen (60 not out) the key to their total.

It never looked like being enough but with Hampshire then reduced to 78 for four and 130 for five, a few Royals hearts were thumping just a little bit harder than they should have been.

They needn’t have worried, though, as Liam Dawson (54 not out) and Adam Wheater (35 not out) shared a match-winning partnership of 64 to see their side to victory.

Dawson might not be the type of player who will blast boundaries with power-hitting.

But there is nothing wrong with his style of play that accumulates runs, finds gaps and keeps the scoreboard ticking along without having to take too many risks.

And it was the perfect situation for his calm authority as he picked up the easy runs that were on offer without playing the box-office shots until the winning line was in sight.

While Vince is the man in form, his stay was short this time as he fell to a superb slip catch from Majid Haq after managing just six runs.

Michael Carberry (four) had already fallen to an edge behind but Jimmy Adams (51) and George Bailey (24) appeared to be putting things right, only to get themselves out when they seemed well set to go on and see the game through.

Sean Ervine (14) will also be kicking himself for his dismissal, as a terrible short and wide delivery from Matt Machan looked ripe for the boundary – only for Ervine to mistime his effort and pick out the fielder.

That left the Royals at 78 for four and relying on Dawson and Wheater to see them through.

Wheater is a similarly busy batsman and from a difficult situation, the run chase was quickly brought back under control and back on track.

The alarm was brief but enough for a scare.