Udal upstages champions to secure second

Hampshire 714-5 dec Notts 213 & 313 Hants win by innings and 188 runs
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Shaun Udal, an England recruit for the tour to Pakistan, finished with four wickets and a match return of 8 for 109 to help Hampshire to one of their more satisfying victories. There was a fine performance by James Bruce, whose controlled pace bowling earned him two wickets and promised more to come.

Nottinghamshire's batting - with the exception of Darren Bicknell and Chris Read, was abject, and inappropriate for a side that has just claimed the County Championship, albeit by just a couple of points. On this showing they are certainly not the best side in the competition; that is most assuredly Hampshire.

The mid-afternoon news from Hove, where Sussex beat Kent comfortably, coupled with the loss of 36 overs to rain yesterday, injected urgency into Hampshire's performance.

The Sussex victory meant Hampshire had no choice but to beat Nottinghamshire to claim second place and the £40,000 on offer for the runners-up.

And they set about the task with determination. Typically, though, the early stages of the follow-on were rigid with resistance, most notably in the guise of Nottinghamshire's left-handed opener Darren Bicknell, 38.

He is in his sixth season with the Midlands county having scored almost 6,000 first-class runs for them. Unsurprisingly he has been offered, and has accepted, a further year at Trent Bridge.

He was certainly the rock to which Nottinghamshire clung. They were helped by the fact that the Hampshire attack had been robbed of the services of Sean Ervine, who was taken to London yesterday to see a specialist about his left knee which he injured the day before. Udal was not 100 per cent and Shane Warne had been touch and go to start the match with a troublesome adductor muscle.

So until tea things went more or less Nottinghamshire's way, but after the interval all that changed. Russell Warren and captain Stephen Fleming fell within an over of each other.

For a while Bicknell and Chris Read thumped and clumped together a 50-run stand before the senior man attempted to cut a ball from off-spinner Udal and wicketkeeper Nic Pothas took a sharp catch.

Bicknell had done enough to deserve a hundred but he fell three runs short, after six hours of resistance. With his departure and that of Paul Franks shortly after Nottinghamshire's chances faded, and when wicketkeeper Chris Read holed out to long off any lingering hopes they might have harboured of salvaging a draw and gleaning some self-respect disappeared.