Cricket: Sussex succumb to salvo of seam

Hampshire 183-9 Sussex 107 Hampshire win by 76 runs
Click to follow
By David Hadfield

Hampshire 183-9 Sussex 107 Hampshire win by 76 runs

ARUNDEL is a lovely cricket ground to look at, but few batsmen will have gone away with an enhanced opinion of its charms after a low-scoring AXA League match yesterday.

Hampshire maintained their encouraging start while Sussex remain without a win in the competition, but the two sides were united by their difficulty in batting with any fluency on a greenish track.

It says much about the prevailing conditions that the highest score by some distance was a painstaking innings by Robin Smith devoid of any of his usual cavalier approach.

With an outfield slowed by a thunderstorm earlier in the day, Hampshire never exactly raced away. Their openers were steady enough against Jason Lewry and James Kirtley, but when a double bowling change brought on the ex-patriate Yorkshiremen Mark Robinson and Paul Jarvis, they took the first three wickets between them in three overs.

The damage would have been worse if Dickie Bird, umpiring for the last time in a county match on this most idyllic of the circuit's grounds, had not turned down a couple of confident appeals against Dimitri Mascarenhas.

He finally went for 21, excellently caught by Lewry just inside the boundary rope, leaving Robin Smith to try to hold together what was left of the Hampshire innings.

It was a patient, sheet-anchor role from Smith, but from the 32nd over onwards, he began to run out of partners with another quick trio of dismissals.

Then Smith himself ran out of forbearance, playing across the line to Alex Edwards and ending a knock that had never been easy at 47.

Only some relatively carefree late hitting from Peter Hartley and Adrian Aymes took Hampshire as far as their modest total of 183.

Hartley also struck an early blow for Hampshire with the ball, removing Keith Greenfield after the Sussex opener had looked in comfortable form.

That brought in the Australian Test player Michael Bevan for his home Sunday League debut but it was to be an undistinguished as he was also bowled three overs later by Kevan James.

When the new Sussex captain, Chris Adams, went in the next over, nicking Hartley to Aymes, Sussex were in trouble.

Newell was then surprised by a beauty from John Stephens that nipped through and flicked off his bails and the same bowler had Edwards leg before, before the middle order could set about steadying the ship.

With conditions so helpful to the bowler, the last thing that was required was for the batsman to give them any extra assistance, but that was what Peter Moores did when he got himself run out trying to squeeze in a second run.

The seamers were so dominant the match was 64 overs old before the first sight of spin. Shaun Udal soon had Jarvis' scalp but it was left to Mascarenhas to remove the last three batsmen as Sussex subsided meekly still 76 runs short of their target.