Worcestershire 112 for 1 v Hampshire 179
Worcestershire's experienced pace bowler Alan Richardson continued his domination of the Hampshire batting at the Rose Bowl. Richardson, who took nine wickets when County Championship Division One's bottom two sides last met in June, took another three as Hampshire failed to make the most of winning the toss.
Hampshire's captain Dominic Cork chose to bat first and was let down by his batsmen when they were shot out for 179 in 54.5 overs. Worcestershire, who started the match a precious 21 points above Hampshire, finished with a respectable 112 for 1 from 41 overs, trailing by only 67 at the end of the second day and with nine first-innings wickets remaining.
Richardson finished with figures of 3 for 37 from 16 overs and was soundly supported by medium-pacers Richard Jones and Gareth Andrew, who also each took three wickets. At one stage Hampshire were 79 for 6 before a minor recovery saw the last four wickets add 100 runs, which may still prove to be crucial.
With the first day washed out by rain, Hampshire needed to make up for lost time with quick runs but they struggled from the moment Liam Dawson was dismissed at the start of the 13th over, caught at square leg by Alexei Kervezee off Jones.
Jones struck again soon afterwards by bowling Neil McKenzie and James Vince to help reduce Hampshire to 60 for 4 in the 21st over. Andrew sent back Nic Pothas and Dimitri Mascarenhas in the space of four balls before Hampshire rallied after the lunch break.
Chris Wood struck a belligerent 53-ball 36 with five fours and featured in Hampshire's best stand of the innings, 48 for the seventh wicket with Sean Ervine. It was then that Richardson, now 36 and a journeyman of four counties, came into his own as the wickets began to ease.
Richardson had Ervine caught in the slips and Wood snapped up by wicketkeeper Ben Scott before Cork was snared leg before by the same bowler. Worcestershire were able to call on their new signing, West Indies fast bowler Kemar Roach, who celebrated his arrival by having last man Imran Tahir caught behind to give him his first wicket in county cricket.
When Worcestershire batted, openers Daryl Mitchell and James Cameron found no problems with the batting surface in a stand of 68 for the first wicket. Legspinner Tahir brought it to an end when he trapped Mitchell leg before for 35 but Cameron and Vikram Solanki made sure there were no further alarms in an unbroken stand of 44.
Solanki was unbeaten at the close with 26, having hit five fours, while Cameron, preferred to out-of-form Matthew Pardoe, was 41 not out, the best individual score of the day.