Masterful Kendall

Hampshire 186 and 356 Gloucestershire 164 and 27-0
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The Independent Online
After the excitement of Friday, when Cardigan Connor recorded nine for 38 - a record in 101 years of county cricket at Southampton - yesterday was bound to feel like an anti-climax. A sodden outfield delayed the start for an hour, but the first 60 minutes' cricket had only marginally more allure than watching turf dry.

The first 10 overs yielded only 15 runs with all the thrills packed into the quarter of an hour before lunch: Kevan James crept to 50, Will Kendall was dropped at mid-on off Mark Davies, and James fell to a bat-pad catch off the same bowler.

Both Gloucestershire's and Hampshire's batting frailties are reflected in their lowly positions in the table, but it was only a matter of time before somebody mastered a pitch devoid of any obvious threats. That honour fell in the first instance to Kendall, a compact right-hander who graduated from Oxford University this summer.

The 22-year-old star notched up the first of what will surely be many Championship half centuries in his second match for Hampshire. He comes with a fine record from Oxford which includes three first-class centuries and a position of 11th in the national averages prior to this match. He announced his intentions with a square drive off Courtney Walsh and set about the spinners with verve after lunch, adding 115 with Matthew Keech. If he has a weakness, it appears to be against pace and Walsh hurried him several times before trapping him lbw.

Keech continued his fine run of form, which encompasses five half centuries in his last seven innings, with a confident knock. Again the spinners took the brunt of the punishment with Davies hit for two big sixes over mid-wicket. Keech was caught at cover after a loose shot off Mark Alleyne, who proceeded to take two more quick wickets.

But Hampshire consolidated their dominant position through Shaun Udal and the irrepressible Connor, who struck Alleyne for 18 runs in one over. Hampshire's bowlers are nursing some niggling injuries but a target of 379 looks a long way off for Gloucestershire.

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