Fidel Edwards stars as Hampshire crush Worcestershire
Fidel Edwards crushed the Worcestershire batting line-up as Hampshire skittled their newly-promoted rivals out for 127 to win the opening County Championship fixture of the season by 196 runs.
West Indian fast bowler Edwards was handed his county cap before the start of play before taking three for 33, including two wickets in two balls, in a whirlwind morning spell.
Gareth Berg, Brad Wheal, Liam Dawson and Kyle Abbott – the latter celebrating figures of four for 45 – also took a wicket each on the final morning to send Hampshire to the top of the division one table.
The day had begun with the simple equation of Hampshire needing seven wickets and Worcestershire requiring 264 runs, a draw appearing a distinctly unlikely result.
The visitors, who had lost three wickets all to Kyle Abbott on the previous day, had what they would have thought was a trump card at the crease in Daryl Mitchell.
He boasted an average just under 70 against Hampshire, including a double century, and had batted serenely on day three to reach 34.
At the other end Josh Tongue had been dispatched as a nightwatchman for the second time in the match, and while he had done his job in the day three gloom, he lasted just three overs in the morning.
Gareth Berg set a trap with a catching fielder at mid-wicket, and bowled a straight delivery which Tongue clipped straight to Brad Wheal.
Mitchell had only managed a single before he departed, pinned on the crease to a Kyle Abbott ball which kept low and struck low on the pads.
George Rhodes typified the tricky conditions, with the seam-friendly pitch albeit with thinner and puffier clouds overhead, by taking 35 balls to get off the mark.
Scoring a run proved Rhodes’ demise though, as he edged Edwards to Hashim Amla at first slip.
Ben Cox was the next to depart when Brad Wheal slammed into his off stump to send it cartwheeling backwards.
Edwards cleaned up the tail when he had Ed Barnard on the pads in front before find the edge of Worcestershire captain Joe Leach’s bat next ball.
Australian overseas Travis Head, who blocked out the hat-trick ball at the start of the next over, provided the only real barrier to a Hampshire rout with a well-made 45.
But Hampshire, who claimed 21 points to Worcestershire’s four, completed their win when Steve Magoffin poked Dawson to James Vince at short mid-wicket.
by Alex Smith, at the Ageas Bowl