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Hampshire hopes fading
6:00am Tuesday 6th August 2013 in Sport
Hampshire captain Jimmy Adams admits his side’s LV County Championship promotion hopes are fading fast after a sixth draw in eight matches.
With five matches remaining, Hampshire are 41 points adrift of the promotion positions following another Ageas Bowl stalemate, writes Simon Walter.
Hampshire still have to play top two Lancashire and Northants, but Adams, right, admits that they are running out of time following yesterday’s draw against Glamorgan. He said: “Lancashire and Northants are still a couple of wins away but we play them both so if we beat them and win another two, you never know. Every drawn game that passes by makes it harder so we’ve got to make the most of the last five games by finding ways of posting a good first-innings score and getting 20 wickets.”
Hampshire began the final day 14 runs behind Glamorgan’s 478-9 declared on 115-2 and had reached 237-4 when heavy rain ensured an early finish.
Having taken 3-61, Chris Wood starred with the bat, following his unbeaten 32 in the first innings with 69 as nightwatchman.
A slapstick mix-up with Liam Dawson saw his partner run out for 42 but Wood was the only other wicket to fall on the final day, caught in the slips after bottom edging an attempted hook against Graham Wagg (2-20). “Drawing games has been a frequent occurrence for us this year and it’s frustrating,” said Adams, who admits the reintroduction of the heavy roller after a three-year absence has been a big factor in the proliferation of draws.
“It’s certainly played a part, with a bit of grass on the wicket we had a great game against Glamorgan last year but if that pitch had been heavy rolled it would have been more like this one,” he said. “It serves its purpose at various times but it’s also nullified the surface at other grounds around the country. “Last year it was fine and that’s coming from me as a batter!”
With rain expected yesterday, a contrived finish was not discussed between Adams and Glamorgan’s Mark Wallace. “We’ve tried to push for positive results for most of this year and spoke between ourselves about ways we could push for a win, but bowling a team out in under a day is a big ask and Glamorgan did the right thing by backing themselves to get past us and put us under pressure,” said Adams. “We batted well in both innings, but we’re struggling to bowl teams out.” Hampshire had dropped David Balcombe after poor form this season (19 Championship wickets at 47). Against Glamorgan they also missed the skills of James Tomlinson, who became a dad for the first time over the weekend, following the birth of his son Ernest James.
Tomlinson, the county’s best Championship bowler this season, is expected to return for the next match, against division two leaders Lancashire at Southport on August 28.
But if Hampshire don’t win that game and their next home four-dayer against second-placed Northants (starts Sept 3), they will be preparing for a third successive season in Division Two.
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