Nottinghamshire v Hampshire at Trent Bridge May 17-20 County Championship Div 1

Neil Whitaker reports

Day 1

NOTTINGHAMSHIRE fought back on day one after they had lost six wickets for 60  runs before lunch and if Hampshire had taken their catches in the afternoon they could well be in the lead.

After lunch Hampshire dropped three chances and it was thanks to spinner Liam Dawson that they took a wicket in the afternoon session when he bowled Calvin Harrison.

Nottinghamshire ‘s top scorer  Lyndon James, who was unbeaten on 92 at the close, was dropped twice. First Harrison had a life on nine when he edged Keith Barker but the fingertips of stumper Ben Brown deflected the ball wide of  Michael Nesser, substituting for Tom Prest, at first slip.  In Barker’s next over he had James dropped  on 23 by  Captain James Vince at third slip by   sprawling to his left as he hit the ground. On 32 he was dropped again in the slips. This time off James Fuller by Fletcha Middleton at second slip and it was the easiest of the chances.

Both James and Harrison made Hampshire pay for  not taking their chances. James clipped Fuller to the mid wicket boundary to bring up the fifty partnership with Harrison.   With Hampshire dropping chances like shelling peas, the Nottinghamshire fans were thinking that James and Harrison would repeat their heroics against Worcestershire a month ago when they added 146 for the seventh wicket. When Harrison clipped Fuller off his legs for a boundary to the square leg boundary the Nottinghamshire fans dared to dream, but after adding  69 in 33 overs with James it was Dawson who got the breakthrough. He bowled Harrison in his second over when Harrison rocked back to pull but the ball wasn’t short enough and he lost his off stump. 

Harrison said: “We had a simple plan to take it in blocks of five runs.  James has been batting beautifully and taking the attack to them.  Hopefully he can finish it off tomorrow with a hundred because he has worked hard to get himself back into form. hope that the guys tomorrow will get us near to 250 and then we can perform with the ball.  It’s a good pitch with the odd one staying low.

It was a difficult start but they bowled well.”

Even after the tea  break  they still couldn’t hold on to their chances. In the first over after tea Olly Stone, on nine, edged Mohammed Abbas and Vince dropped his second catch at third slip.  That was in the  65 over and Stone and James took Nottinghamshire to the new ball.  The partnership was broken when Stone, who batted for two hours, became Mohammed Abbas fourth victim when he edged him and Dawson at second slip took the catch rolling  over to his left.

Mohammed Abbas, who ended the day with four for 36 said: “We were a little bit worried that a few catches were dropped  but I am happy that we bowled really well and took all those wickets because the pitch was uncovered all yesterday.  So we needed to bowl in the right areas all the time.  I enjoy bowling here at Trent Bridge and I took some wickets for Hampshire here last year.  But the pitch wasn’t like  last year. It's brown looking and hard, with some balls keeping low.”

Before lunch it looked so different for Hampshire searching for their first Vitality Championship victory of the. They won  the toss, put Nottinghamshire into bat on a brown looking pitch  and soon had Nottinghamshire in trouble thanks to the pace of Mohammed Abbas.  Without a run  scored Ben Slater pushed at Mohammed Abbas, edged it to give stumper  Ben Brown a comfortable catch.  Nottinghamshire went two down in Mohammed Abbas’ next over when he took the shoulder of Will Young’s bat and the bal looped to Middleton at gully.  

Mohammed Abbas’  third victim of the morning session was Jack Haynes who slashed him  off his back footb and Prest at first slip took the catch two handed falling backwards.

After an expensive first over South African Kyle Abbot,who came on as first change, pitched one at Clarke who edged his drive and  Vince took comfortable waiste height catch at third slip.

On 16 Haseem Hameed did well not to edge a short ball from Abbott and stumper Brown did well to prevent any byes. He became Barker’s first victim when he hung his bat out to a wide ball and  Brown  took a regulation catch diving in front of Prest at first slip.

Fuller struck with his first delivery. Bowling   around the wicket he nipped one back in at Moores and knocked his  leg stump out of the ground.  With the last ball of the day Dillon Pennington was trapped on his crease and was leg before to Abbott.

Nottinghamshire were unchanged from the Lancashire match and Hampshire while Hampshire brought in Mohammed Abbas and  Barker for Nick Grubbins and Brad Wheal.

Day 2

PLAYING his first Vitality Championship match of the season Hampshire’s Keith Barker had a day  to remember, sharing in a sixth wicket partnership of 157 in 28 overs with  Liam Dawson,  hitting 77,  then taking the first Nottinghamshire second innings wicket with his second ball.

He said: “At 61 for four we weren't in a good position so me and Dawson knew that we had to dig deep and hit anything that was short.  We took our chances and it worked in the end. But it was due to the work of Dawson and Ben Brown that made it easier for me because their bowlers looked to be taking the game away from us. Today Dawson batted amazingly and we’ve put the team into a position and we need to make the most of it in the next couple of days.  It was nice to get Haseeb Hameed’s wicket early because he has been batting well.  Tomorrow should be a competitive day.”

Trailing by 41 Haseeb Hameed had an expansive drive at the second ball edged and James Vince at third slip took the catch at chest height before falling to the ground.  Dawson and Barker rescued the Hampshire first innings after they had slumped to 77 for five in 31 overs with Barker hitting his first Vitality Championship fifty of the season.  

It could have been worse for Nottinghamshire if stumper  Joe Clarke had held Barker on 11 when Barker  top edged a cut off  Dane Paterson.  Then he rubbed salt into Nottinghamshire’s wounds by  driving Paterson to the cover boundary and pulling Dillon Pennington over the mid wicket boundary. 

The early part  of Barker’s kept the Nottinghamshire fielders interested by having big hits that either dropped short or wide of them.  Buoyed by the exploits of Barker enabled Dawson to take the fight to  Nottinghamshire, he pulled Paterson to the square leg boundary to take him into the 40’s.

Barker had another life on  43  when he edged a push off Calvin  Harrison but Tom Moores at slip couldn’t get the ball to stick in his left hand.  His partner Dawson cut Lyndon James to the cover boundary to bring up the hundred partnership of 119 balls. Two balls later he brought up his second Vitality Championship fifty of the season when he pushed James through gully to the third man boundary. His fifty came off 58 balls with seven fours. 

The partnership was broken when Barker was beaten by the  pace of Olly Stone  and was bowled to give Olly Stone his fourth wicket of the innings.

Earlier overnight batsmen James and Paterson defied the Hampshire bowlers for 33 minutes with James hitting his first Vitality Championship century of the season and his first in Division one. The pair added 22 to their overnight score but they couldn’t get Nottinghamshire to a batting point.

James clubbed Kyle Abbot to the cover boundary to bring up his first Championship century of the season from 229 balls with nine boundaries and his first century in Division one. He later clubbed Mohammad Abbas straight which nearly knocked his head off.  The innings was wrapped up when Paterson had a wild swing at Abbott, top edged it and  Brown took his third catch of the innings.

Stone said: “The way James came out and batted aggressively to get us over 200.  He has proved himself with both bat and ball and the way he went about it showed his class.  He’s a great talent, works hard at his game and has put us in the position of a one innings shoot out.”

Like Nottinghamshire,   Hampshire lost their first wicket without a run  on the scoreboard.  Ali Orr nibbled at one from Stone who found his outside edge to give Clarke an easy catch.

On three, Felix Organ was dropped by Will  Young at third slip off Stone as he moved to his left with Harrison at second slip moving to his right.  Organ who had a torrid time against Stone and Pennington was finally put out of his misery when he pushed at Stone, edged it  and Harrison took a low catch at second slip moving to his left

James Vince looked in good form as he soon overtook Fletcha  Middleton and  hit Pennington for three consecutive fours: the first was a pull, the second was a cut over the slips and the final one was steered through gully.  Just when at least a fifty was a certainty Vince fell on the stroke of lunch.  He tried to turn Paterson to leg but got a leading edge  and stumper Clarke took the catch moving to his right in front of first slip.

In the third over after lunch Middleton gloved a short ball from Pennington through to Clarke. Brown pushed at Stone and got a thick outside edge to Young at third slip moving to his left.

The pace of Stone and Pennington backed up Paterson and James increased the pressure on the Hampshire batsmen as the boundaries dried up and it took Dawson 40 deliveries to get into double figures.  

James Fuller clubbed Pennington to cover boundary but two balls later he tried repeating the shot but this time it was a little bit finer and found substitute James Hayes(for Stone) on the third man boundary. 

The Hampshire innings ended in two balls:  Abbott was leg before to Harrison,with  Tom Prest not batting because of a shoulder injury, Dawson scooped Pennington to reach his century but found Harrison on the third man boundary.

Stone said: “I felt that I bowled well today and in the last game. The game is now set up for a couple of exciting days.  They came out and played positively.  But when the ball gets softer there’s alway a ball with your name on it so we chipped away and got those last three wickets.”

Day 3

NOTTINGHAMSHIRE fought back in the final session to take five Hampshire wickets and set up an exciting final day with  both sides in with  a chance to win the match.

Hampshire need another 85 to win after their top order was blown apart by Dillon Pennington and Dane Paterson taking two wickets each and Lyndon James one.  Needing 169 to win, Hampshire lost their first wicket in the sixth over when Ali Orr instead of blasting Pennington over Haseeb Hameed at mid-on just chipped him.  The Nottinghamshire captain casually stuck out his right hand as the ball came over his shoulder and the ball stuck.

Another great one handed catch got rid of Felix Organ. He slashed at a wide ball from Pennington and Calvin Harrison at second slip leapt in the air and  stuck out his right hand and again the ball stuck.

James Vince missed a straight ball from Paterson and was plumb leg before with 137 more needed.  There were no heroics this time from their top  scorer in the first innings Liam Dawson who drove James to Will  Young at short cover.

Ben Brown was beaten by the pace  of Paterson who knocked his  off stump out of the ground and sprinted off to the point boundary before his teammates could reach him. Paterson should have had another wicket in his next over when James  Fuller edged him to Young at third slip who spilled the chance.

Hampshire head coach Adrian Birrell said: “The new ball has been hard to play throughout the match but once you get the scoreboard moving the pitch has flatten out.  Both sides have taken wickets with the new ball. When Nottinghamshire were in trouble they got the scoreboard moving.  That’s why we sent  Fuller in and it has worked so far but  we are only halfway there.  Tomorrow we need two partnerships, hopefully only one.  Fuller’s and Fletcher Middletown’s partnership is a good one in the context of the match and they are two very good players. Once the ball gets old both sides have found it easier

It’s a good pitch and it has created a good cricket match and both teams have a chance of victory,”

In the morning session Nottinghamshire’s top order was blown apart by the pace of Kyle Abbott and in the afternoon Nottinghamshire were spun out by Dawson and Organ.

Nottinghamshire lost their first wicket of the morning to the second ball when Abbott kissed the edge of Young’s bat and Brown took a regulation catch.  Abbott got his second wicket of the morning in his next over when bowling around the wicket he wrapped   Ben Slater’s pad and Abbott got the decision. His fun continued when he angled one into Tom  Moores and knocked his off stump cartwheeling out of the ground.

Former Worcestershire players Joe  Clarke and Jack Haynes took  Nottinghamshire to lunch without any further loss, they eventually added 96 in 30 overs,  but  Clarke,on 17, nibbled at one from Fuller and edged it but substitute Michael Nesser dropped the comfortable chance at first slip. On 36 Clarke survived a strong leg before appeal from Dawson but umpire  NigelLlong was unmoved.

Clarke drove Organ to the cover boundary to bring up his fifty 91 balls with five fours and a top edged six. Hampshire thought they had broken the partnership on 91 when they went up for  a catch off  Clarke but umpire Llong wasn’t sure and  consulted his partner Steve O’Shaughnessy and ruled the ball hadn’t carried.  But Clarke’s reprieve was short lived.  In the next over he gloved a short ball down the legside from Mohammed Abbas which Brown gleefully accepted. 

Haynes on 25 clipped Abbott off his legs just wide off  Nesser at mid wicket.  He reached his third fifty of the season, which came from 111 balls with six fours, when he clipped Abbott for  a couple.  His innings ended in a tame way.  After  reverse sweeping Organ to the third man boundary  he went down the pitch to the next ball and turned him to Middleton at short leg. .

He said: “We were disappointed not to get a bigger lead but it  was nice to contribute. It  was important for us to get a partnership and we both batted positively.  It was a fantastic effort by the bowlers and I don’t know how Harrison took that catch. Haseeb Hameed’s catch was another brilliant one.  It has been a  great game and the pitch has been brilliant. Hopefully we’ll come back fresh tomorrow and get a breakthrough.  When you get through  the new ball it is a lot easier but we’ll be trying to get early wickets.”

With Abbott positioned by the square leg umpire, off spinner Organ fired the ball in at James’ legs and he blasted the ball straight to Abbott who hardly had to move.

Nottinghamshire’s last hope Harrison needed the last three wickets to stick with him longer than they did. But despite their failures he kept playing his shots, especially the reverse sweep. He  blasted  Organ straight back and the ball burst through Organ’s hands.  But it was too much, Olly Stone top edged a paddle sweep of Dawson, the ball looped in the air and Vince ran round from slip to leg slip dive forward to take the catch.  Pennington tried to turn Dawson off his legs but missed the ball and was leg before.  Harrison raced down the pitch to Organ and was easily stumped.

Day 4

AN unbroken sixth wicket partnership of 127 in 28 overs between Fletcha Middleton who carried his bat for 59 and James Fuller who was unbeaten on 77 saw Hampshire to their first Vitality Championship victory of the season.

The over that calmed Hampshire nerves came just after noon when a  Calvin  Harrison over cost 20 runs and included a ball called five wides for negative bowling. Middleton attempted to drive Harrison over mid-on but got an outside edge and the ball just flew out of the reach of Tom Moores at slip for a three to bring up the hundred partnership off 147 balls. Fuller slog swept the ball flat and hard for a six over mid wicket and  cut the next ball to the cover boundary as 20 runs came from that over and the match was as good as over.

Fuller chipped Lyndon James to the mid wicket boundary and then clipped him down to the fine leg boundary for the winning runs. Fuller’s 77 was his best Championship score of the season so far.

He said: “It seems like an age since we won so it’s nice to win and we’ll have a nice journey home.  Not many people on the balcony watching it would have enjoyed it but me and Middleton just stuck to the process and we tried to forget  about the balls that were doing a bit.

The match ebbed and flowed, the pitch didn’t play out as we thought it would.  The new ball spells saw a flurry of wickets from both sides. I thought that Dillon Pennington was hitting the pitch very hard and Dane Paterson was always looking for the outside edge in his long spell.  It’s so good to have Keith Barker back in the team, he is a key component for us.”

Middleton was almost yorked by the second ball  of the day from Pennington.  In Pennington’s next over Middleton drove him for a straight four to bring up  the fifty partnership with Fuller.

Leg spinner Harrison didn’t come on to bowl until the 10th over and Middleton drove him to deep mid-on for a single to bring up his fifty from119 balls with two fours. But by then Hampshire had found it all too easy to get singles at will.

Fuller drove Harrison to the long on  boundary to bring up his fifty from 78 balls with five fours and took Hampshire's target below 40.

Nottinghamshire head coach Peter Moores said: “We showed a lot of fight in this game and scrapped all the way.  After last night it was 50/50 this morning.  I thought it was an outstanding game of four day cricket and for that all credit goes to the groundsman.  Everyone wants to play on pitches that have pace and bounce  and the game ebbed and flowed.  We didn’t play our best cricket if I am honest but last night we bowled beautifully and Paterson was the pick of them. It was a   world class piece of bowling and put a lot of pressure on them. At one point it looked like we would run through them last night.

The lads have worked hard but they didn’t execute their plans but certain players had outstanding days.

Full credit to Middleton for the wh he played as a young player and had  a good partner in Fuller.”



May 18, 2024 11:59 am

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