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Hampshire's last Championship winners celebrate at Ageas Bowl this week
5:00am Monday 2nd September 2013 in Sport
Hampshire’s last County Championship-winning team will be celebrating their 40th anniversary during this week’s match against Northants at the Ageas Bowl.
Fitting, as it was at the same stage of the 1973 season that a dramatic victory against Northants in front of an expectant Northlands Road crowd took Hampshire to the cusp of their third Championship title.
But after Hampshire’s latest defeat, by 122 runs against Lancashire at Southport, they will spend the last four games of this season attempting to make sure this does not go down as the county’s worst Championship campaign for a decade.
Promotion was the goal at the start of the season but with Hampshire now 71 points adrift of second-placed Northants, the county’s first wooden spoon since 1980 is more likely than a return to the first division.
To keep alive their already-faint promotion hopes, Hampshire needed the sort of win that they managed on their last visit to Trafalgar Road, Southport – in 1973.
On that occasion, Barry Richards and Gordon Greenidge both hit centuries, sharing a 200-run opening partnership, as David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd’s Lancashire were gunned down by an innings and 74 runs.
Adam Wheater’s valiant 140 on Saturday, his first century in a competitive match for Hampshire, meant the county had two Southport centurions once again, following James Vince’s 106 in the first innings.
But this Hampshire side, while effective in the limited-overs formats, is very different to the 1973 vintage and will once again be without Michael Carberry and Danny Briggs this week, the pair having both been included in England’s squad for tomorrow’s ODI against Ireland.
Carberry will be making his ODI debut if he plays and, unlike Briggs, is also in the party for the five-match series against Australia, which begins at Headingley on Friday and ends at the Ageas Bowl on Monday, September 16.
In Briggs’ absence, 16 year-old Brad Taylor could make his home debut tomorrow, having starred with 4-64 and a 27-ball 20 at Southport.
The academy product shared in a last-wicket stand of 53 in 46 balls with James Tomlinson before Hampshire were finally all out for 373 in their second innings – having collapsed to 129-7 after being set 496 to win by the Championship leaders.
Lancashire’s bowlers were made to fight all the way by Wheater and Hampshire debutant Matt Coles (68), who responded to a seemingly forlorn task with a stand of 191 for the eighth wicket.
The pair established a new eighth-wicket record for matches between Hampshire and Lancashire and also put the efforts of the visitors’ established batsmen on Friday afternoon in a far from favourable light.
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