Connor hits the cruise control

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BARRIE FAIRALL

reports from Basingstoke

Hampshire 319 and 92-1 Leicestershire 154 and 253 Hampshire win by nine wickets

Hampshire scored points all round here, 23 after concluding business soon after lunch against Leicestershire, and a hat-trick of Championship wins. It was the perfect riposte to criticism from one quarter which suggested the club "show all the frailties and insecurities that beset the English game". Frailty, on this occasion, lay in the opposing camp.

While it was thundered that the Hampshire playing staff "is too big, containing too many cricketers who fall into the categories of never-were or never-will-be good en- ough," the faithful and thoroughly professional 34-year-old Cardigan Connor returned match figures of 10 for 127.

As for Heath Streak, the 21-year-old overseas signing from Zimbabwe, he hurried things along here yesterday with four wickets in seven deliveries at a cost of two runs to set beside his four victims of the first innings.

Hampshire, after six matches, have yet to enter into a fourth day's proceedings this season and Leicestershire have only had to turn up once so far on the final morning. Nice work for the salaried staff when you are winning.

Hampshire were on the way to winning after 80 minutes yesterday thanks to Streak. Connor having threatened to wrap things up on day two, they were initially resisted by the overnight pairing of Paul Nixon and Gordon Parsons, who put together a half- century partnership for the seventh wicket that rather made a mockery of Leicestershire's earlier follow-on antics.

When the lead, though, had reached 86, Streak had Parsons top-edging an attempted hook, Paul Terry running back from second slip to take the catch. Streak, in his next over, was then on a hat-trick for the second time in the match after removing David Millns via bat and pad to short leg and bowling Adrian Pierson.

Alan Mullally on-drove for two to deny Streak the prize, but the seamer had his revenge before the end of the over, Paul Nixon left stranded on 44. All that remained was for Hampshire to knock off the 89 needed for victory, an objective which Terry, with an unbeaten 45, and John Stephenson reached an hour and a quarter after the hospitality tents were into a heavy lunchtime session.

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