May 26 2013 Latest news:
Marcus Hook, at the Ford County Ground, Chelmsford
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Hampshire (323 & 54-0 dec) beat Essex (18-0 dec and 358) by two runs
A superb innings of 98 from Adam Wheater nearly saw Essex home on a nail-biting final day against Hampshire at Chelmsford. But, despite a number of chances going begging, Hampshire went second in Division Two of the LV= County Championship courtesy of a two-run victory.
After the match, Essex’s coach Paul Grayson said: “Adam Wheater got 98 and everyone will be talking about that innings, but it needed one of the top order to get a good score.
“That’s been our Achilles heel for three or four years in four-day cricket. There’s not enough hundreds in that dressing room and that’s probably the reason why we didn’t quite get over the line today.
“It’s disappointing because it could have been a real turning point in our season. There’s still six matches to go. We all know in four-day cricket, if you get back-to-back wins it shoots you up the table.
“We’ve still got a lot to play for and we might get second spot, but we’ve made it harder four ourselves because those are defining moments.”
Resuming on 102-2, with a further 258 runs needed for victory, the hosts lost Mark Pettini in the fourth over of the day, when Dimitri Mascarenhas accounted for the acting Essex captain, who was caught at second slip off a defensive push for 25.
Ryan ten Doeschate, on two, survived a chance to the left of Liam Dawson, in the same position, off James Tomlinson. With the 32-year-old Dutchman driving Tomlinson straight down the ground for four, spin was introduced after 45 minutes in the shape of Danny Briggs.
Ten Doeschate, using his feet to the slow left-armer’s third delivery, beat the man at mid-on to register another boundary. But Hampshire took encouragement from the departure of Billy Godleman, who was brilliantly caught low down and to the left of Michael Bates to make it 132-4. Godleman had batted for nearly four hours for his 40 off 175 balls.
Greg Smith edged his first ball through the vacant third slip area for four. But, with his score on 12, the former Derbyshire man was dropped at short mid-on by Neil McKenzie off the bowling of Mascarenhas.
The hour before lunch was dominated by Essex’s fifth wicket pair. Smith dabbed Mascarenhas to third man for a couple of fours and swept Dawson to the rope at deep square leg, though not before ten Doeschate had cut Briggs to the boundary.
Ten Doeschate then despatched a loose delivery from Briggs all along the floor to long-on. With Smith sweeping Briggs for four and glancing Tomlinson, who was given first use of the second no-ball, the hosts dined on 195-4.
Needing another 165 in two sessions, Essex slipped to 227-7. Smith signalled his intentions by driving the first ball after lunch through the off-side for four, only to perish to a good catch at extra cover off Tomlinson four deliveries later.
Adam Wheater’s response was to drive David Balcombe straight down the ground before despatching Tomlinson through backward point off the front foot. However, Tomlinson struck two overs later when ten Doeschate, driving lavishly at a short delivery, was caught at gully for 42 to make it 210-6.
Wheater moved to 16 with fours either side of the wicket off Balcombe, but was dropped two overs later, when Balcombe put down a sharp caught and bowled chance to his left.
With Tomlinson striking yet again to have Graham Napier caught at extra cover for three, Hampshire seemingly had no cause for regret. But the reintroduction of Mascarenhas prompted Wheater to lift the veteran seamer over midwicket for a maximum and for Harbhajan to clear the sightscreen at the Hayes Close End moments later.
Harbhajan went to 30 with an off driven four off Briggs, before being handed a huge slice of luck when Balcombe spilled a straightforward catch at long-on, despite making three attempts to cling on to the ball.
The contest swung back Hampshire’s way four overs later, when Harbhajan danced down the wicket to go stumped for 40.
Shortly before tea, Wheater brought up a 73-ball half-century, which he celebrated with a swept four off Briggs. David Masters, on four, was dropped at short midwicket off Mascarenhas to suggest that fortune might yet favour the hosts, but Essex still needed fifty more going into the final session.
After the break, Briggs had Masters leg before. But with Wheater, farming the strike, reverse sweeping Briggs for four and lifting Balcombe over midwicket for two successive sixes, the outcome was anyone’s guess.
With 20 needed, Wheater reverse swept Briggs for another four. He then picked Tomlinson up over the leg side boundary for a maximum and helped a leg stump full toss on its way. With victory in sight, however, the 22-year-old picked out one of the few men on the boundary – Sean Ervine, who had been stationed at long-on – to hand Tomlinson, who finished with 5-86, his best return of the season
Wheater’s valiant 98 came off 111 balls and included 12 sixes and four sixes.