Ervine sees off Glamorgan

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The Independent Online

Hampshire stormed to the top of the County Championship with a comprehensive annihilation of Glamorgan here yesterday. The defeat leaves Glamorgan rooted to the bottom of the table and almost halfway to the unenviable start they recorded in 1922 when they began with 12 straight losses.

Whereas the last time Hampshire were top was 13 years ago, almost to the day, although back then, in 1992, they finished the season in 15th place. But this time they do not look in danger of repeating that fall. The captain Shane Warne has injected some steel into the side and the team spirit is palpable when they take the field. Even without the all-rounder Dimitri Mascarenhas, whose back injury makes him doubtful for tomorrow's Championship match against Warwickshire at Stratford- upon-Avon, and Simon Katich (knee), they will present a formidable front with their collective will to win, a key element of success.

Pick of the Hampshire attack was the Zimbabwe seamer Sean Ervine, who claimed the third five-wicket haul of his career, beginning with David Hemp in the second over of the day, which Glamorgan had begun still 95 runs away from making their opponents bat again. It was all downhill after that.

Chris Tremlett took his match return to 7 for 96 with a more than useful display. He extracted more bounce out of the pitch than anyone else, even Glamorgan's fast bowler Simon Jones, and underlined the merit of his inclusion in the national development squad.

There was some dogged resistance from Michael Powell, but after three hours he inexplicably undid all that good work with a needless top-edged pull in mid-afternoon, when there had been a faint glimmer of salvation. Apart from Dan Cherry and the captain Robert Croft the batting offered precious little. In the end Hampshire needed just 79 runs for victory. No problem to a team bursting with confidence and brio.

And Glamorgan's plight deepened with the news that Matthew Maynard is about to announce his retirement after 20 years, and almost 23,000 runs, with the county.