Benham brilliance promotes Hampshire
Hampshire 265 for 9 (Benham 158) beat Glamorgan 114 (Harrison 28, Ervine 4-24, Bruce 3-28) by 151 runs
A magnificent 158 from Chris Benham took Hampshire into Division One of the Pro40 for next season after comprehensively beating Glamorgan at The Rose Bowl, in the tournament's inaugural play-off. Set a sizeable 266 to win, Glamorgan were never in the hunt and they crumbled limply to 114 all out.
The day revolved around Benham whose wonderfully attacking innings provided the perfect end to Hampshire's summer. It was his second one-day hundred and by some distance his best innings for the club who he has played for since he was 10. Right from the outset, he took the attack to Glamorgan's bowlers - particular to James Franklin, before using his feet to the spinners. Though the pitch was even and true for the seamers, there was no shortage of turn available for Robert Croft and Dean Cosker, but Benham's poise and balance - not to mention his fearless strokeplay - was a cut above.
To emphasise the quality of his strokeplay, no other Hampshire batsman passed 30 and six failed to even reach 10. And in 130 balls, he smashed 21 fours and a six. His captain, Shane Warne, was understandably elated at Hampshire's elevation to the first division but reserved special praise for Benham.
"I thought he played magnificently. It was one of the best innings I've seen all year and he took it away from Glamorgan," Warne told Sky Sports. "Hopefully he'll know what he has to do [to progress further]. I'm just proud of him - he's a potential captain of the club and we're lucky to have him."
Glamorgan's reply began disastrously when James Bruce, who bowled an impressive line at decent pace, removed Richard Grant with his second ball. Warne, always unpredictable as a captain, threw Sean Ervine the new ball which brought immediate success when he removed Mark Wallace for 3. Though David Harrison crashed five fours in a breathless 28, there was scant support from the middle-order who folded in rather inevitable fashion. Appropriately it was Warne who took the final wicket of the summer, removing Cosker to hand Hampshire a crushing 151-run win.
"It's not easy getting up for it at the tail-end of the season," Warne said, "and it all comes down to how much passion you've got. We're hungry. Unfortunately we didn't play well last year in the Pro40 and got relegated. We've got a really good squad, some young players and it's a privilege to captain this club."