Hampshire 218 (Brown 53, Barker 52; Thompson 5-60) and 214 for 3 (Organ 72, Holland 71) beat Yorkshire 159 (Bess 67, Fraine 53; Abbott 6-36) and 272 (Tattersall 63, Lyth 59; Abbott 4-77, Abbas 3-37) by seven wickets
A match that had appeared to be nip and tuck on Wednesday evening eventually proved to be neither. On a pitch that was drier and easier for batting than it had been earlier in the week, Hampshire’s batters strolled to their target of 214 to set up a second successive push for the County Championship in September, when their next opponents will be Northamptonshire at the Ageas Bowl.
Holland showed himself to be as adept at the reverse-sweep as Alfred (Scarborough College Class of 22) had been before play started, when one of the youngster’s well-timed efforts clattered into a couple of spectators on the wooden benches high in this amphitheatre. But the ball was soft and no one objects to lads practising cricket in this town.
The morning’s only alarm for Hampshire came when Jonny Tattersall missed a stumping when Organ was 37 but the ball had spun sharply out of the rough and down the leg side. Only the martinet Yorkshire coaches like Arthur “Ticker” Mitchell would have laid into the keeper for that one. At lunch, Hampshire were 121 without loss – just as everyone had predicted.
The afternoon’s play brought a little comfort for Yorkshire supporters, although they might have seen Hampshire’s loss of three wickets in 5.4 overs as an irritating reminder of what might have been possible had their bowlers shaped themselves earlier. But Coad was playing his first match after four months out with injuries and he will have been encouraged to remove Holland for 71, when a little extra bounce induced an edge to first slip, and then Joe Weatherley, who was leg before wicket for nought. Those dismissals sandwiched the departure of Organ, who hit Bess for a splendid six over long-on, only to pull the next ball, a steaming long-hop, straight to Matthew Revis at deep square leg.
The super-optimists at North Marine Road may have thought these wickets a prelude to the sort of fightback in which Steve Patterson’s team has specialised this summer. If so, they were swiftly disabused of this notion by the grace of Vince, whose cover drives off Bess and Patterson were of the highest quality. Hampshire’s skipper even managed to invest a slog-swept six with aesthetic value and he was unbeaten on 43 when the victory was confirmed and the red balls were put away for a month or so.
Meanwhile, at The Oval Surrey’s progress towards victory was progressing smoothly and their victory over Warwickshire has extended their lead over Hampshire at the top of the table to 16 points, albeit Vince’s team look to have the easier final three games. And at least we should have yet another September to cherish through the autumn