HAMPSHIRE debutant Oliver Soames is confident of a first-innings lead against Worcestershire at New Road.

The opening batsman made 25 from 87 balls and shared a second-wicket stand of 59 with Jimmy Adams before Hampshire collapsed from 80-1 to 191 all out.

Soames, who battled away for 32 overs on his Championship debut, said: “Looking at the conditions beforehand, we wouldn’t have expected to be in this position.

“But the pitch is lively and there is enough there for the bowlers. The game is moving quite quickly forward and hopefully we can finish off the job (the Worcestershire first innings) tomorrow morning.

“I think we are in a strong position, our bowlers have shown there is still a lot in the pitch, and hopefully we can go through them and get back out there batting again.

Soames, who made his first-class debut for Loughborough MCCU in April and has impressed for Hampshire’s 2nd XI this year, was told he would be playing ahead on Monday, before replacing Rilee Rossouw in this week’s team.

“I knew I was playing the day before,” he said. “I had just got off the bus at Bristol Services and was told I would be making my debut.

“The ball was moving around before lunch off the pitch. They bowled very well, made us work very hard and there were no easy balls to hit.

“It was tricky conditions but I enjoyed it. I don’t mind playing and missing a lot. As long as I’m there at the end, I don’t mind how the runs come and I was trying to soak up every minute.”

Worcestershire all-rounder Ed Barnard completed his fourth five wicket haul of the season before the Hampshire pace attack struck back in the Specsavers County Championship relegation clash at Blackfinch New Road.

Barnard wreaked havoc during a post lunch spell of 5-21 as Hampshire were bowled out for 191 in 57.3 overs.

But the home side also struggled for runs and had been reduced to 68-4 before bad light intervened with 13.2 overs remaining.

There were only eight points between the two teams – lying in sixth and eighth spot respectively with Yorkshire sandwiched in between – going into the game.

Hampshire initially appeared to be making relatively serene progress after electing to bat in reaching 81-2 by lunch.

But then came the intervention into proceedings of Barnard who earned his first England Lions call-up this summer.

The 22-year-old was chiefly responsible for Hampshire collapsing from 83-2 to 126-8 in the space of 12 overs after the resumption.

He bowled a deadly nine over spell which yielded a return of 5-21 – and overall figures of 6-50 from 16 overs.

Barnard now has taken 41 Championship wickets this season – only six short of his best haul in a campaign last summer.

Sam Northeast (48) led a partial Hampshire and then their pace attack of Dale Steyn, Fidel Edwards and Kyle Abbott in the final session posed problems in gloomy light.

Hampshire debutant Oliver Soames and Jimmy Adams added 59 for the second wicket after the early departure of Joe Weatherley (10) to Barnard.

Josh Tongue broke through on the stroke of lunch by trapping Adams lbw for 31 – and then Barnard took centre stage after the resumption.

Soames, having grafted 32 overs for 23 runs, drove hard at Barnard and nicked to Daryl Mitchell at second slip.

James Vince (10) perished after playing a similar shot with keeper Ben Cox snaffling the chance.

Dillon Pennington was next to strike as Tom Alsop (0) pushed forward and gave Cox another catch.

But Barnard was soon back on centre stage with another trio of wickets.

After his fourth five-wicket haul of the season, he said: “I think we ended up pretty happy. We were maybe slightly disappointed with the first hour or so this morning.

“We probably had the best of the conditions and didn’t quite utilise them as we would have liked.

“But we came back strongly in the second session and have managed not to lose too many wickets tonight because that was a real tough session for the batters to go out and face those 20 odd overs.

“Overall, we are pretty pleased. I think we would have liked to bowl them out for 150 or so but we kept them under a bonus point which is massive with where we are in the table.

“Hopefully we can go on and get a bit of a lead tomorrow and bowl them out again.

“What was different about my second spell? I think I was just a little bit more consistent. In the morning I bowled a few good balls but also a few I wasn’t so happy with.

“I just got it in the right area and it was one of those sessions where all the nicks seemed to go to hand.

“I thought Tonguey (Josh Tongue) and Dill (Dillon Pennington) probably bowled a little bit better than me at times and could have had a lot more rewards than they did. But sometimes that’s just the way it goes.

“You get a few little breaks and you end up getting on a bit of a roll.”