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Hampshire's turnaround

Cricinfo looks back at some of the best county performances from August

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
Thanks to the wet summer, this year's Championship race is shaping up as another classic. The Pro40 is also up for grabs and the final few weeks of the season should be thrilling. Cricinfo looks back at some of the best performances from August

In the wickets: Robbie Joseph enjoyed an outstanding August with Kent despite their defeat in the Friends Provident final © Getty Images
Team of the month - Hampshire
There's nothing like a crisis to inspire a team. First it happened with Middlesex, who called a special general meeting to discuss the team's lack of success - then they went on a winning streak which cumulated in the Twenty20 Cup. Now it's Hampshire's turn. In the same month as it was announced that Paul Terry was leaving the club they have registered two Championship victories (and have remained unbeaten through August) to ease relegation concerns and put themselves in touch with the top. At times they have been down to the bare bones of a team, but have benefited from Dimitri Mascarenhas being overlooked by England and the superb form of Imran Tahir. Sean Ervine, too, has found a new lease of life. An outstanding Pro40 century against Middlesex (they are still in with a chance there as well) was followed by a crucial, match-winning 94 against Durham.
Batsman of the month - Marcus Trescothick
Thanks to the release of his autobiography - one that should actually be worth reading - Marcus Trescothick is making plenty of headlines. He is revealing all about his struggles over the last few years that forced an early international retirement (and Kevin Pietersen won't be able to change his mind) and England's use of Murray Mints. Most importantly, though, he is happy again. Which is a triumph in itself. It is showing in his cricket as he has churned out runs galore after a slow start to the season. Bowlers have been put to the sword in Championship cricket, but the most destructive displays have come in the Pro40 - particularly his 183 against Gloucestershire (which still ended in defeat). It's time to let him move on.
Bowler of the month - Robbie Joseph
At the beginning of the season Robbie Joseph was probably playing for his county future. He was under pressure after failing to make the most of his talent, but over the last few weeks he has spearheaded Kent's attack. It began with nine wickets at Chester-le-Street in a match that lasted little more than two days and the top score was 53. Then came the Friends Provident Final where his three scalps kept Kent in with a fighting chance. Finally his success helped complete a victory when he ran through Lancashire at Canterbury and to wrap up August he took six more against Yorkshire. His three in the second innings was almost enough to force an unlikely win.
Innings of the month - Sean Ervine 94 not out
It wasn't a thrilling one-day century by Trescothick, or Championship double ton by Mark Ramprakash, but Sean Ervine's 94 against Durham - his best score of the season - was worth more than either of them. The game at May's Bounty in Basingstoke had been dominated by the ball, with Hampshire all out for 96 in their first innings. Chasing 240 few gave Hampshire a chance, especially at 77 for 5. But Ervine has found some strong form and held the innings together. On the final morning he chipped away at the target while wickets fell at the other end. It was nailbiting stuff. The ninth wicket fell with 21 still needed, but Imran Tahir held firm as he and Ervine gave Hampshire the points.
Bowling spell of the month - Mark Davies, 8 for 24
It's been a strange old career for Mark Davies. When you look at his statistics, 220 wickets at 20.83, you wonder how he hasn't been talked about as an England bowler. But, as is often the case, the numbers only tell half the story. He has suffered a horrendous run of injuries and illness including a lung infection and a stress fracture of the back. This season, though, he has been able to string matches together with impressive results, none more so than his eight-wicket haul at Basingstoke. Already in 2008 he'd demolished Lancashire back in May with 7 for 33 (albeit in another defeat) and was at it again on a bowler-friendly strip. An England Lions tour isn't out of the question this winter.
Youngster of the month - Liam Dawson
From having one of the most potent spin attacks in the country with Shane Warne and Shaun Udal, Hampshire were suddenly left with a bare cupboard after both departed over the winter. But during the second half of the season a talent has emerged in the shape of Liam Dawson, a left-arm spinner who is also turning himself into a fine batsman. It is, in fact, the runs that have often caught the eye, scored at vital times in one-day games, but he has put in some important spells with the ball, including 4 for 45 against Middlesex at Lord's. He had a successful spell with England Under-19s, but now it's the time to give him his head at first-class level. It's vital, too, that he concentrates on his spin. The county game isn't overflowing with young English talent in that department.

Andrew McGlashan is a staff writer at Cricinfo