Hampshire v Gloucestershire, Ageas Bowl, 1st day July 7, 2014

Last-wicket Hants repair after Norwell four

Press Association

Hampshire 251 for 9 (Smith 45, Norwell 4-87) v Gloucestershire

Hampshire's last-wicket pair of James Tomlinson and David Balcombe repaired a middle-order collapse to thwart Gloucestershire on a day of fluctuating fortunes.

Hampshire raced to 69 for 1 and then 144 for 2 after being put in, only for Liam Norwell to induce a slide in which Hampshire lost seven wickets for 38 in 12.1 overs.

Norwell took four quick wickets with his medium pace before Tomlinson and Balcombe, not renowned as batsmen, came together in an unbroken stand of 69 for the last wicket as Gloucestershire ran out of ideas.

At the close, delayed by rain earlier in the day, second-placed Hampshire had made 251 for 9 from 80 overs with Tomlinson 33 not out and Balcombe unbeaten with 38, leaving Gloucestershire a chance to reflect on why they had been unable to finish off their good work on a helpful pitch.

The rain wiped out the entire first session, meaning play did not start until 1.10pm after an early lunch. Gloucestershire captain Alex Gidman noted the green tinge to the wicket and the Ageas Bowl's reputation for aiding the bowlers and chose to field first.

Gidman must have starting to regret his decision quickly as Michael Carberry and Jimmy Adams put on 69 in 21.4 overs for the first wicket without alarms. Benny Howell and wicketkeeper Adam Rouse, both former Hampshire players, combined to break the partnership when Carberry was caught by Rouse attempting leave.

Hampshire showed no signs of being slowed by the England batsman's dismissal as Adams and Will Smith took the score to 98 before Will Gidman got Adams to edge to Rouse.

At tea, Hampshire were in a dominant position at 106 for 2 with Smith and James Vince well set but the turning point came at 144 in the 50th over when Vince, who had struck five fours in his 25, was leg before to Norwell.

The Hampshire batting quickly subsided in his wake as Norwell bowled Smith for 45 and in rapid, unseemly succession Sean Ervine, Joe Gatting, Adam Wheater, Danny Briggs and Kyle Abbott all fell, six wickets going down for 25 in nine tempestuous overs.

Ervine gave Iain Cockbain a catch at short leg, Tom Smith deceived Gatting and Wheater edged Norwell to Cockbain at second slip. Briggs went to another slip catch by Chris Dent and Will Gidman returned to dismiss Abbott in identical fashion.

At 182 for 9, Hampshire were in disarray and the end looked close as Balcombe was joined at the crease by Tomlinson. Viewed as an old-fashioned No. 11, Tomlinson nevertheless put on 60 with Briggs against Surrey last time out and he and Balcombe defied Gloucestershire despite the many bowling changes made in a frantic last 18 overs of the day by Alex Gidman.

Neither batsman looked in any trouble as they complied their face-saving partnership and at the close Tomlinson was nine runs short of a career-best while Balcombe struck Norwell for successive boundaries on the way to his best score of the season.

Norwell finished the day with figures of 4 for 87 but they might have been better had it not been for the defiance of the last-wicket pair who plundered runs from him as play drifted beyond 7pm and the attack visibly tired.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • mark on July 8, 2014, 8:27 GMT

    I agree with C&C how Gatting can get back in the side is beyond me-he was dropped for a reason! too many batters playing 1 day cricket in 4 day format me thinks. The sooner we get Liam Dawson back on the park the better.

  • Paulo on July 7, 2014, 19:20 GMT

    Hampshire's form appears to be slipping alarmingly in both formats. It's a real worry.

    Carberry's abysmal T20 Blast may be affecting his championship form. Vince started the blast well but then lost form and that may be affecting his championship game too.

    The bowling lacked penetration in the last championship game so it must be better this time round, especially with the lack of runs on the bord.

    Not entirely sure why Gatting is back in the side. He looks to have been a poor singing, as a Sussex reject was probably destined to be.

  • No featured comments at the moment.