Cricket: Smith hits pain barrier

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Comb Univ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .177-7

Hampshire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .178-1

Hampshire win by 9 wickets

NOW we know: cigarette hoardings can seriously damage your health. Robin Smith, who hurtled into one advertising the sponsor's products, may have taken a superb catch but he came off second best here yesterday. Pure bad luck, of course, but the Hampshire and England batsman ended up with more than just a headache.

Smith, who has delayed having surgery on a shoulder until the end of the season, was assisted off. Bleeding profusely and limping, he was taken to hospital. Right shoulder, right knee, a cut above the right eye and a write-off for the rest of the day. 'At least I took the catch,' he said before his departure.

Smith needed 18 stitches and was sent home with mild concussion. Later, he said: 'I want to play in the next game (the opening Championship match at home to Somerset starting tomorrow) but I'll be guided by the doctor.' Then, in a reference to an Australian tourist, he said: 'It's a good way of getting warmed up for Merv and the boys.' It would have been less painful and more useful to have had a gentle knock against the Combined Universities in this Benson and Hedges Cup preliminary round tie.

The students, who elected to bat, had Jeremy Snape to thank for seeing them to a respectable total. And it was Snape, who had made 50 and was going for his third six, who fell to the catch that felled Smith.

Snape took his sixes off the spinners, Ian Turner and Shaun Udal, and together with his captain, John Crawley, who made 41, added 75 in 20 overs for the third wicket. There was also a useful unbeaten contribution of 30 from Loughborough's Stuart Shephard, but 177 was hardly going to prevent Hampshire from achieving their seventh win over the combined side in this competition.

Sure enough, Paul Terry and Tony Middleton put on 67 for the first wicket and then Middleton and David Gower, who made 41, finished the business off in an unbroken partnership of 111. The Gold Award could have gone to Snape for all sorts of reasons, but Middleton headed the field with his 91.

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