Cricket: Rose continues to blossom

Somerset 175 Hampshire 169-9 Someset win by six runs
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The Independent Online
It is an inexplicable meteorological oddity that when county cricket pays its annual visit in June to May's Bounty, temperatures always seem to drop to a level which would not be surprising in April.

Nonetheless, Hampshire and Somerset made light of it and produced another excellent game.

The pitch, which is better described as being stationary rather than slow, had produced a low scoring but excellent Championship match which Hampshire won by nine runs in three days. Batting was also a difficult business for the Axa League Sunday frolic.

Hampshire put Somerset into bat and after 22 overs had six of them out for 86. The redoubtable Kevan James, who can do no wrong at the moment bowling medium fast left-arm over the wicket, took 3 for 16 in his eight overs, moving the ball into the right hander with excellent control. He finished with 13 wickets for 93 in the championship match.

Two of his victims, Peter Bowler and Keith Parsons, tried to cut and edged the ball into their stumps, which happened to five of the batsmen who were bowled during the match. This was another indication of the slowness of the pitch and of the early Somerset batsmen only Robert Turner had looked at all comfortable.

Somerset's recovery - their last four wickets more than doubled the score - came about partly because of some poor bowling towards the end of the innings and partly because of the firm stroke play of Graham Rose, who is having a wonderful season as an all-rounder.

Hampshire, beginning their innings in spitting rain, quickly lost Jason Laney, lbw on the back foot, and Robin Smith, bowled off the edge square cutting.

But Matthew Hayden was soon driving in his usual fluent style while Matthew Keech also played some good firm strokes off the front foot. They put on 45 in 12 overs before Hayden sliced a cover drive off Jason Kerr and was beautifully caught by Mushtaq Ahmed running flat out round the square third man boundary.

Will Kendall was out almost at once pushing one from Kerr which may have "stopped" on him to short mid-wicket.

Hampshire were then helped by an extraordinary over from Andy Caddick, which lasted for 12 balls (five wides and one no-ball) and cost 16 runs. After that, wickets fell regularly and, although John Stephenson and Shaun Udal kept going amid great excitement, the target was just beyond Hampshire's reach.