KYLE Abbott has written his name into the Hampshire Cricket record books once again.
Fresh from bagging the county’s best-ever match figures last week - 17-86 against Somerset - the South African claimed another record on the first day of the Championship finale at Canterbury yesterday.
Abbott’s three first innings wickets took him to 71 for the season - the highest number of Championship wickets by a Hampshire bowler since the league was split into two divisions in 2000.
Previously, Australian leg-spinning legend Shane Warne held the record with 70 wickets in 15 matches in 2000 - his first year with the county.
The second highest total had belonged to James Tomlinson, who bagged 67 in 2008 - the year Hampshire last finished in the Championship’s top three.
Abbott’s achievement is even more impressive in that he has only played in 13 games this summer.
Abbott needs six more second innings wickets to equal the highest number of Championship wickets taken by a Hampshire player since 1986.
Back in 1989, Dutchman Paul-Jan Bakker claimed 77 wickets - but he did play in 21 three-day games compared to Abbott’s 13 four-day ones.
It will take a stupendous effort for any bowler to ever claim 100 Championship wickets ever again - they will need to average seven wickets over 14 matches to do so.
That means Malcolm Marshall will probably forever remain the last Hampshire bowler to reach three figures - taking exactly 100 in 1986.
Prior to that, Marshall had taken an eye-popping 134 Championship wickets in 22 matches in 1982.
That was 49 more wickets than any other bowler managed that summer - Marshall’s West Indian colleague Sylvester Clarke (Surrey) the next highest with 85.
Marshall bagged no fewer than 12 five-wicket hauls that year, and four times took 10 wickets in a match.
But even that staggering total was nowhere near Alex Kennedy’s all-time Hampshire record of 190 first class wickets in 1922.
Of those, 177 were taken in 28 three-day Championship matches - an average of 6.3 per game.
It was a totally different world back then, of course, and Kennedy was only the third highest wicket-taker in the Championship that year.
Team-mates Jack Newman - born in Southsea - and Stuart Boyes also bagged 121 and 95 wickets respectively. No-one else took more than 16!
The second day of Hampshire’s Championship finale at Canterbury was abandoned without a ball being bowled today.
Heavy overnight rain continued throughout the morning and though match umpires Ian Gould and Ben Debenham inspected at 1pm and 1.40pm when the showers briefly abated, the rain returned soon afterwards.
That led to an abandonment just before 2pm.
Hampshire will hope to resume their first innings on 80 for three, a deficit of 67, at 10.30am tomorrow - although forecasters have warned of further rain.