Hampshire maintain pace in LV= County Championship title race with patient victory over Gloucestershire at The Ageas Bowl

Hampshire maintained pace in the LV= Insurance County Championship title race as they patiently secured an 87-run victory over Gloucestershire.

By Alex Smith
Sunday, 8th May 2022, 5:02 pm
Updated Sunday, 8th May 2022, 5:59 pm

Mohammad Abbas followed his first-innings six-wicket haul with 3-62 with Liam Dawson and James Fuller both grabbing two wickets apiece as they seized a final session victory.

George Scott and Miles Hammond’s half-centuries had given Gloucestershire hope of chasing down 368 and a first victory of the season, but the second new ball claimed four wickets to dent their dream.

Hampshire move to eight points behind early leaders Surrey after claiming a 21-point haul, while Gloucestershire escape the bottom two with their three bonus points.

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Mohammad Abbas picked up nine wickets for Hampshire in their Championship win over Gloucestershire at The Ageas Bowl. Picture: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Hampshire began the day needing eight wickets, with Gloucestershire requiring another 257 runs in what would have been the second greatest chase in their history. A draw wasn’t out of the question either.

The morning session refused to suggest which way the result would be going. Seventy runs were scored, with the required rate still manageably under three runs per over, with only a single wicket falling.

That scalp was of George Scott, who danced down the track and picked out mid-on, for a personal best 77. Meanwhile, Hammond chalked up his third half-century in a third successive match in 150 mostly serene deliveries – the only worries in the session were the occasional play and misses.

This Ageas Bowl pitch has consistently assisted the new balls across the match, with nine wickets falling within the first 10 overs of it being taken.

Hampshire were therefore looking forward to a second cherry soon after lunch, having been forced to persevere on a slow pitch. Thus, Ian Holland sending Graeme van Buuren’s middle stump for a tumble in the 77th over was an added bonus.

Three wickets did fall within 10 overs of James Vince unwrapping a shiny new ball, to swing the balance almost terminally towards Hampshire. Nine balls in and Hammond fell to Keith Barker, who missed a straight one and was pinned in front.

Abbas took his match tally to nine wickets with the quickfire double of Tom Lace and Dom Goodman – the former clipped to midwicket while the latter tickled a delivery which moved in on the angle behind.

Ryan Higgins scored 25 before his attempt at a cut screwed to Ben Brown’s gloves.

Last season, Gloucestershire had frustrated Hampshire with an epic block-a-thon on the final day to draw while nine down – with Goodman’s 48-ball nine saving the match. But there was to be no similar hold-up.

Mohammad Amir was superbly caught by Aneurin Donald running backwards from cover to dive and snaffle a skier and ex-Hampshire prospect Ajeet Singh Dale was strangled down the leg side – both to Fuller – to end the highly entertaining contest with 25 overs to spare.

Hampshire 342 & 204 beat Gloucestershire 179 & 280 by 87 runs