Hampshire Stun Surrey with Record-breaking Win

As the Vitality County Championship reached its midway point before the end of May, Surrey went into their fixture at the Rose Bowl full of confidence off the back of four consecutive wins (including an innings win over these same opponents last month), looking to reinforce their stranglehold on the title. With a top six who were all England internationals it was no surprise that they chose to bat first, but they found Kyle Abbott in irresistible form as he took five for 25 to help dismiss the visitors for just 127. In reply, opener Toby Albert was yet to make a Championship fifty, but he made a patient career-best 114, adding 201 for the second wicket with Nick Gubbins (103). With the platform well established, Ben Brown took full advantage, scoring a career-high 165 not out. Hampshire were able to declare on 608 for six, leaving Surrey with a mammoth task just to avoid an innings defeat. Felix Organ’s off-breaks did most of the damage to the top order, and he went on to take five for 104 as Surrey fell away to 203 all out.


Losing by an innings and 278 runs was Surrey’s worst innings defeat in their Championship history – only twice had they suffered a worse reverse, against W.G.Grace’s England in 1866 and against Don Bradman’s 1948 Invincibles (both times beaten by an innings and 296 runs). Their previous worst innings defeat to a county side was back in 1881, when Yorkshire won by an innings and 217 runs. Meanwhile, for Hampshire it was their biggest innings victory, narrowly ahead of their win over Northamptonshire last year. It’s fair to say, this was an even bigger upset than Manchester United’s FA Cup final win over neighbours City!


Second-placed Somerset fared just as badly, beaten by an innings and 6 runs inside two days at Chester-le-Street. Durham chose to field first and fully justified their decision by bowling out the visitors for 171, with Ben Stokes taking four for 54. David Bedingham became the first Durham batter to score four consecutive centuries, as he hit 101 in the home side’s reply of 265, with Jake Ball picking up five for 62. Bedingham is now the leading runscorer at this stage of the season, with 795, ahead of Colin Ingram on 752. Although Tom Banton was absent hurt, that was no excuse for Somerset being skittled for just 88 in their second innings, Stokes nipping in with four for 23 to confirm that his bowling looks fully back on track.


With the top two both slipping up, the opportunity was there for Essex to go into the break right in the mix when they went to Canterbury and chose to bat first. Jordan Cox’s 207 was the centrepiece of Essex’s 591 for seven declared, though Shane Snater made a career-best 83 not out. There were many useful contributions in Kent’s reply, but no one could reach three figures as they hit back with 394 all out, Matt Critchley finishing with five for 88, his best analysis for Essex. Forced to follow on, Kent survived 57.2 overs making 101, but Simon Harmer’s four for 32 did the damage as Essex won by an innings and 96 runs to move within two points of Surrey and 14 ahead of Somerset. Sam Cook and Jamie Porter are tied as the leading wicket-takers so far this season, both with 29, one more than Daniel Worrall of Surrey.


At Old Trafford, Warwickshire decided to bat first and were grateful to skipper Alex Davies, who carried his bat for 127 not out in their total of 284 all out. For Lancashire it was the second time in three matches where a county old boy, now captain of their opponents, had carried their bat against them, after Haseeb Hameed achieved the same feat. Yet again this summer, Lancashire’s batting crumbled – but the fact it was against the slow left-arm of Jacob Bethell, who had taken just two wickets in his previous 15 games, was particularly alarming. Bethell finished with a career-best four for 20 as Lancashire collapsed to 149 all out. With much of the final day lost to the weather, Warwickshire declared on 96 for three to set a target of 232, but the home side ended up with just 15 overs of batting, by which stage they had reached 89 for four, the draw taking them off the bottom of the table, three points ahead of Kent.


Finally, at the newly rebranded Visit Worcestershire New Road there was no play on the first day because the ground was too wet. When the action did begin on the second day, Nottinghamshire chose to field first and took just 31.1 overs to hustle the hosts out for a meagre 80. Hameed hit 100 as the visitors reached 234 for three by the end of the second day, but heavy overnight rain meant no play was possible on the third day either. After all the flooding New Road suffered over the winter, the conversations about the county having to move to a new venue are only going to grow stronger. More rain meant the fourth day was also a washout as the game inevitably ended in a draw.


In the Second Division, leaders Sussex travelled to Lord’s to take on second-placed Middlesex and were put in to bat. Cheteshwar Pujara scored 129 and then another captain up against his old side flourished, John Simpson making 167 before he declared on 554 for nine. Sam Robson (136) and the in-form Ryan Higgins (106) led the fightback. In total, six batters passed fifty as Middlesex responded with 613 for nine declared, whereupon the game was called a draw.


At Grace Road, Glamorgan were put in to bat, which was probably an easier decision with Ingram not playing. The visitors scored 387 despite a career-best five for 64 from Scott Currie; Leicestershire new recruit Ian Holland, who has joined the county on loan from Hampshire for the rest of the season, went wicketless. Peter Handscomb’s 103 helped the home side up to 343 for nine declared in reply, with Timm van der Gugten taking five for 65. Glamorgan had reached 157 for four when the game ended as a draw, after both the last two days were shortened affairs due to the weather.


Derbyshire decided to bat first at Bristol, and Matthew Lamb made a career-best 207 as the away side compiled a hefty 526 all out; he added 227 for the fourth wicket with Brooke Guest (95). Meanwhile Beau Webster took a career-best six for 100. In reply, Gloucestershire slipped to 131 for four before James Bracey (144) was joined by Graeme van Buuren (187, his highest score for the county) and the pair went on to set a new county record partnership of 277 for the fifth wicket, breaking the record set in 1876 by W.G.Grace and William Moberly (Moberly had previously played in England’s second-ever rugby union international, v Scotland at The Oval in 1872, and would go on to coach cricket at Clifton College for 30 years from 1883). This partnership was the oldest surviving record for any wicket for any county. Despite Zak Chappell emerging with his best figures for Derbyshire of five for 58, the hosts still made 530. Derbyshire had reached 166 for four when the game ended as a draw, leaving them bottom of the table, seven points behind Yorkshire.


Yorkshire were put in to bat at Northampton, and Adam Lyth started things off well with 109 as his side made 362 all out. The hosts’ captain Luke Procter made a century (116 not out) to guide his team up to a reply of 301, with Yorkshire’s new overseas recruit Vishwa Fernando finishing off the tail to take four for 48. Yorkshire skipper Shan Masood hit 131 not out as his side hurried to 264 for six declared to set a target of 326. Ricardo Vasconcelos played a lone hand in the run chase, which eventually became a battle for survival, as Northants slipped from 165 for two to 219 for eight with six overs remaining. The biggest surprise was the bowler who did all the damage: Lyth taking four for 56 – easily the best figures of his career, never having taken more than two wickets in an innings in his previous 228 first-class games. The hosts finished on 250 for eight, with Vasconcelos unbeaten on 129.