Tommy guns down the Spitfires
James Vince hailed hero Tom Alsop after Hampshire made a winning start to their Royal London One-Day Cup challenge in Canterbury.
Alsop notched an unbeaten 112 to guide the Ageas Bowl outfit to a six-wicket success against Kent in their opening south group fixture.
The 21-year-old’s knock saw Hampshire overhaul their hosts’ total of 258 all out with 29 deliveries to spare.
Vince was full of praise for Alsop, with whom he shared a stand of 112 after Michael Carberry had departed to the second ball of the chase.
Superb spells of spin bowling from Liam Dawson (one for 41) and Mason Crane (two for 44) had earlier checked the progress of Kent after they had raced to 94 without loss in 15 overs.
Vince said: ‘After the first 10 to 12 overs I thought we bowled well.
‘We remembered our plans and kept Kent down to what we thought was a getable score.
‘In 50-over cricket it’s important to take wickets regularly as it’s the best way to stop the flow of runs.
‘We had talked about that beforehand, so it was pleasing we managed to keep chipping away.
‘I was particularly happy with the spinners.
‘I thought they executed their skills really well.
‘With bad weather abou, Canterbury is not the easiest place to come and win, so the partnership up front with Tommy kick-started our innings and set up the chase.
‘For Tommy to bat through was an excellent effort and I’m really pleased for him.
‘We needed someone to grab the innings by the throat.
‘He took the options he is best at and did a great job for us.’
Hampshire won the toss and asked Kent to bat at a cold and overcast St Lawrence Ground.
And the Spitfires laid decent foundations through Joe Denly (45) and Daniel Bell-Drummond (56).
Dawson ended the stand when Denly miscued to mid-on before Sean Dickson (20) was removed by Crane.
When Bell-Drummond flat-batted a low catch to Chris Wood at cover, Kent were 131 for three.
And their innings tailed off thereafter with only Darren Stevens, who is 41 on Sunday, providing any form of prolonged resistance.
Stevens hit 60 in 57 balls, with three sixes and two fours, before he was ninth man out with the Kent total on 239. With the last-wicket stand putting on 19, Hampshire were set a target of 259 for glory.
And after Carberry had departed, they set about it in fine fashion.
Vince struck a superb 69 for 50 balls before cameos by Dawson (19), Jimmy Adams (22) and Sean Ervine (not out 33) helped Alsop, whose 112 included 13 boundaries, deliver victory.
Hampshire travel to Chelmsford to take on Essex in the Royal London One-Day Cup on Sunday (11am).