Smith augments major pounding of minor

Hampshire 321-4 Cambridgeshire 82 Hampshire win by 239 runs

A trip to Fenland can be a diverting business. The large horizons, interrupted by ditches, spires and warehouses, can disorientate and distance, like the difference between minor and first-class counties, ought to be measured in leagues. Certainly here, Cambridgeshire were not in the same one as Hampshire who crushed their hosts by 239 runs, the sixth heaviest defeat in the competition's history.

Minor counties live for days, if not results, like this. Each dreams of an upset that will give them their 15 column inches of fame. But as neither an incubator of young talent nor a provider of rigorous competition (only three batsmen managed to stagger into double figures here), their role in the new Strategic Plan, announced on 5 August, must be under threat.

Before the England and Wales Cricket Board's inception last January, the Minor Counties' Association received pounds 660,000 in hand- outs. Unless they can contribute in pushing talent up the pyramid towards the England team at its apex, it is hard to envisage such payments continuing.

Comprising largely of part-timers - their fastest bowler, Chris Whyborn, is an officer in the RAF, while their steadiest, Tim Smith, farms Llamas in Hertfordshire - the home side had little power in preventing Hampshire's batsmen from taking the game out of their reach.

On a sluggish pitch, Matthew Hayden, who scored 90, and Robin Smith nudged stroked then bludgeoned their way to a second-wicket partnership worth 176 runs. Returning from a back injury, Smith, whose 126 won him the man of the match award, was comfortably the more domineering partner and despite conceding a 16-over start to the Australian, overtook him as each entered the 80s.

Hayden had clearly set himself the task of batting through the innings and his dismissal, caught and bowled by flying officer Whyborn with some eight overs to go, clearly irked.

Of course, the home side might well have had something more feasible to chase had Brad Donelan - one of two professionals - held on to a chance from Smith when the batsman was on two.

Until that moment, they had kept Hampshire on a fairly tight leash with some straight if paceless bowling from farmer Smith and Ajaz Akhtar. It was not the only aberration, and two further catches and a Caribbean amount of extras helped the visiting side to distance themselves even further.

Faced with such an enormous task, the home side's response was predictably weak. Hampshire are not the bowling superpower they used to be when Malcolm Marshall tore in off 35 yards, but their adherence to the basics of line and length was too much for their opponents on this pitch as John Stephenson, the Hampshire skipper, ended with a career-best 5 for 34.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living