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Ivo Tennant at the Ageas Bowl
September 4, 2013
Hampshire 160 for 2 (Adams 71*) trail Northamptonshire 438 (Keogh 221, Spriegel 76) by 278 runs
The Ageas Bowl was awash with emotion. Opening batsmen came and went, but staying for some while. They were besieged by middle-aged autograph hunters who were quite prepared to wait all day to snare the individuals whom they had admired for many a year. And that was just the action in the suite in the Shane Warne Stand.
Hampshire's 1973 Championship winning side, Barry Richards and Gordon Greenidge among them, were being feted at a Forty Years On reunion, caps, claret and all. It is the nature of such occasions that there is no time to observe what is going on in the middle, for techniques to be properly examined. There are simply too many old friends with whom to enjoy social intercourse.
A pity in a way, because the two main innings were played by the Hampshire captain, another left-handed batsman of the same standing in the game as his predecessor of that era, Richard Gilliat, and a 21-year-old who is just starting out on his career, as all those familiar names once did themselves. Jimmy Adams made an unbeaten 71 and Robert Keogh, whose previous highest score was 44, 221.
It would have been fascinating to hear what Richards would have made of Keogh. He would have admired the unwavering concentration, the correct strokeplay, the ability to make such a large score when Keogh had not remained at the crease hitherto for anything like so long as 473 minutes. Keogh and Matt Spriegel took their overnight unbeaten stand to 187 in 56 overs before the latter was well taken by Michael Bates in front of first slip off James Tomlinson. His 76 included eight fours.
Keogh, dropped badly at cover on 169 off David Balcombe, reached his double century with a pulled four off the same bowler, his 29th, and was undeterred while wickets fell about him until he was last out, caught and bowled by Liam Dawson off a leading edge. The pitch, so helpful to the new ball bowlers on the first morning, was by now offering nothing in the way of lateral movement. A batsman of resolve and talent, which is clearly what Keogh is, can stay in for a long while.
Bates brought off another fine catch, left handed down the leg side, to account for Trent Copeland, to hand a third wicket to Ruel Brathwaite, who has bowled well enough to have been given a contract next season. He will be a handy replacement for David Griffiths, who is leaving for Kent.
Matt Coles, whose future is yet to be determined, accounted for Jon Batty, of whom much the same could be said, although at the stage of his cricket career that he has reached, that scarcely matters. Bates, keeping wicket on account of Adam Wheater playing as a specialist batsman, finished with six catches.
Hampshire, then, had to contend with a total of 438. Michael Roberts was soon bowled by Steven Crook, but Adams remained for the remainder of the day, as steadfast as Keogh had been earlier. He worked the ball around the square in characteristic style, occasionally unfurling an off drive that split the cover ring. By the close, when the party in the Warne Stand was still going strong, Dawson had hoiked Spriegel to midwicket, the captain had struck 14 fours.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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