Cricket: Smith's century puts Hampshire on brink: Weather disrupts battle between Worcestershire and Hampshire

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Hampshire. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .244-6

Worcestershire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .118-3

Match resumes today

NOT counting Durham (and they can be counted out of most things), Hampshire were the last of the counties to make it to a Lord's final, but they are steadily making up for 25 years of failure in knockout cricket. When bad light intervened yesterday, Robin Smith's 119-ball century - a curious innings involving purple patches at start and finish, and periods of prolonged groping in between - gave them a tantalising glimpse of their fourth final in seven seasons. Worcestershire require a further 127 from 22 overs, a task that would be a good bit easier had Graeme Hick not run himself out.

There was a grim start to the game when a spectator collapsed over the boundary boards and play was suspended for half an hour while he was given emergency treatment on the outfield. An ambulance was finally driven across the ground to take him to hospital before a short shower precipitated a far less understandable delay.

After it stopped, the umpires wandered out in their blazers to inspect an outfield that had received just about enough rain to fill an eggcup and they then decided to wait a further 15 minutes after the covers had come off before resuming. This, frankly, was as pathetic as the regulations for these contests.

Not only is there no provision for trimming time off intervals, but why have two intervals in the first place? Cricketers spend so much time taking meal breaks it is a wonder they don't all waddle on to the field looking like sumo wrestlers, and taking tea at five minutes to six yesterday was as close to potty as makes no difference.

On top of which, these matches invariably involve a public address system manned by someone in love with the sound of his own voice and there was a further delay when (blissfully unaware Stephen Lampitt was waiting to start an over) he blathered on for fully a minute about what a splendid chap Tim Curtis was and what a fine gesture it would be for spectators to stuff money into his benefit buckets.

Initially, Curtis did a decent enough job promoting himself as a worthy cause. He decided to bowl first after winning the toss and half-way through the Hampshire innings, it looked as though Worcestershire would not end up having to chase much more than 200.

Tom Moody, who has picked up a yard of pace and was Western Australia's leading Sheffield Shield bowler this winter, whipped through his 11 overs for only 17 runs, and despite Smith making a confident start to his innings, he then struggled to find his touch on a pitch that offered all the bowlers a modicum of encouragement.

However, Smith would not have been around to lead the final charge had Curtis not missed a catch at midwicket when Smith was on 54. David Leatherdale also dropped him at long off when he was on 82 and Smith moved from 90 to 100 with two consecutive blows off Gavin Haynes.

Smith also benefited from spinners unable to exploit his traditionally uncertainty against flight and loop, for the simple reason that they appear unable to reprogramme from one-day cricket's accepted formula of spearing it in at middle and leg stumps.

Smith was finally run out hesitating over a second run, but Hick's run out, when he and Moody disagreed over a single after a stand of 74 in 19 overs had hauled Worcestershire back from 22 for 2, may turn out to be more significant.

(Worcestershire won toss)

HAMPSHIRE

V P Terry c Rhodes b Newport . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 T C Middleton c Hick b Moody . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 R A Smith run out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .108 * M C J Nicholas c Curtis b Newport . . . . . . . . . . . .37 M Keech c Haynes b Lampitt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37 W K M Benjamin c Moody b Radford . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 A N Aymes not out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 K D James not out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Extras (lb7 w3 nb2) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Total (for 6, 55 overs) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .244

Fall: 1-21 2-53 3-122 4-210 5-218 6-237.

Did not bat: S D Udal, C A Connor, N G Cowans.

Bowling: Newport 11-2-35-2; Moody 11-2-17-1; Illingworth 11-0-42-0; Hick 2-0-11-0; Lampitt 11-0-67- 1; Radford 7-0-39-1; Haynes 2-0-26-0.

WORCESTERSHIRE

* T S Curtis c Middleton b Cowans . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 D B D'Oliveira c Aymes b Cowans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 G A Hick run out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40 T M Moody not out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 G R Haynes not out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 Extras (lb4 w1) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Total (for 3, 33 overs) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .118

Fall: 1-7 2-22 3-96.

To bat: D A Leatherdale, S J Rhodes, S R Lampitt, P J Newport, R K Illingworth, N V Radford.

Bowling: Benjamin 5-0-15-0; Cowans 7-2-18-2; Connor 5-1-14-0; James 9-0-43-0; Udal 7-0-24-0.

Umpires: M J Kitchen and J C Balderstone.

Comments