Middlesex win closes history on county ground at Portsmouth
Robin Smith - may miss NatWest Trophy quarter-final
Photo © Hants CCC
Paul Weekes hit the second ball of the last over from Shane Warne to the long-on boundary to bring Middlesex a four-wicket victory over Hampshire in the Second Division of the National League and to bring to an end over a century of county cricket at the United Services ground in Portsmouth.
The result was in line with current form as Middlesex have now won five of ten matches and Hampshire lost eight of nine. Bearing in mind that these same two teams clash in the quarter-final of the NatWest Trophy at Lord's on Tuesday, Justin Langer invited the home county to bat first when he won the toss in front of some 2,500 spectators.
At first all went well for the hosts as Giles White and John Stephenson added 58 for the first wicket, but even captain Robin Smith (42) could not inspire an increase in the scoring-rate. In the 36th over Smith pulled a hamstring and from the following delivery his runner, White, was run out. Hampshire managed to score just 190-9. The start of the Middlesex innings was similarly tepid with Andrew Strauss, David Alleyne and Richard Johnson out by the time the score reached 52.
The tide was turned in a 82 run fourth-wicket partnership between Mike Roseberry and Mark Ramprakash. The former scored another ten runs after being dropped on 44 ad his innings included a six and three fours. Ramprakash was more cautious in scoring only one boundary in his 46.
Then quick bowler Peter Hartley seemed to regain the initiative for Hampshire with 3-41 and Warne had his compatriot, Langer, caught spectacularly by Derek Kenway. Hampshire's problems did not end with the end of the match: Smith could miss the NatWest Trophy match because of his hamstring trouble and White, who did not field, is having problems with a calf-strain.