Hampshire vs Kent day four: despite a grand-stand finish, honours even at the Ageas


Hampshire: 409-9d & 298

Kent: 555 & 57-3

Prost Player of the Day: Joe Denly 48-3 & 29*

Unusually for a County Championship fixture, day four of the match at the Ageas Bowl offered all the available outcomes. Hampshire’s late resistance in the evening session of the previous day set up an intriguing final one on the south coast.

Approaching the final period of day three, the home side found themselves with a first innings 146-run deficit  and the thought of a daunting final session ahead, where the game could only have been lost rather than won.

However, a stalwart innings from opener Ian Holland (37*) and capable support from Rilee Roussouw (37*) meant Hampshire went in at stumps 119-2 and meanwhile, kept their head above the metaphorical para-pit.

The Day’s Play:

Just half an hour into the morning session, Holland brought up his half-century off 160 deliveries as the Hampshire man led his side above parity. After establishing a lead early on in the day, the aggressive South African batsman Rilee Roussouw got the scoreboard ticking along nicely. Without being swashbuckling, he saw off experienced campaigner Darren Stevens before displaying plenty of intent against the rest of the Spitfire armoury.

A third-wicket partnership of 118 seemed to swot away any lingering nerves from a Hampshire perspective and maintained the run-fuelled festival that was witnessed over the previous days. Having seen over 1000 runs scored in the match, all the bowlers apart from exceptions of Fidel Edwards and Darren Stevens found it arduous on a track that was emerging as a batting paradise.

However, spin suddenly came into the equation as the match took yet another twist in the space of three overs. Roussouw eventually fell after the Bloemfontein-born man picked out Daniel Bell-Drummond in the deep. One became two in quick succession as Holland tumbled to the bowling of Ollie Rayner.

With the two spinners Rayner and Joe Denly operating efficiently in tandem, Kent clawed their way back into the reckoning. Things got even better for the Spitfires as Denly grabbed his second wicket in as many overs, trapping Gareth Berg for nought prior to lunch. At the interval, Hampshire trudged in 186-5 with a fifty-run lead but found themselves in a spin.

Roussouw looked comfortable before being dismissed for 66 – Photo: @hantscricket

Darren Stevens came out the traps after the break and immediately found his length putting severe pressure on the Royals batsmen. The 43-year-old got his reward when Lewis McManus nicked off leaving Hampshire teetering on the edge of defeat.

With the match getting away from Hampshire, it appeared they made a collective decision to batten down the hatches and see out the match. Keith Barker joined Aneurin Donald in the middle and the duo stood firm, batting the session out until tea.

They put on an eighth-wicket partnership of 63 before Donald holed out. Nonetheless, the pair helped the ever-increasing chance of a draw nearer.

However, a common theme that has occurred throughout the four days struck again when the team on the back-foot fought back. Denly and Grant Stewart picked up the wickets of Kyle Abbott and Mason Crane respectively, leaving the Spitfires with a glimmer of hope in the closing stages.

Not long after removing Fidel Edwards for a duck, the equation for Kent was pretty simple; 153 runs required in 17 overs. The scene was set for a grand-stand finish.

In what was essentially a glorified short T20 game integrated into a four-day County Championship fixture, Kent opted for the attacking pair of Sean Dickson and Joe Denly to get runs – fast.

After throwing everything but the kitchen sink to proceedings, Kent struggled to find the boundary frequently. Royals captain Kyle Abbott put every single one of his men on the boundary, desperately trying to claw onto the draw.

Eight overs into the run chase and Kent struggled, Joe Denly (29*) and Kyle Abbott shook hands on the draw. A fascinating day’s cricket where both sides were under the cosh at times and on top at others. All in all, a fair result.

Team Lineups:

Hampshire: Felix Organ, Ian Holland, Ajinkya Rahane, Rilee Rossouw, Aneurin Donald, Gareth Berg, Lewis McManus (Wk), Keith Barker, Kyle Abbott (c), Mason Crane, Fidel Edwards.

Kent: Sean Dickson, Jordan Cox, Joe Denly, Daniel Bell-Drummond, Heino Kuhn (c), Ollie Robinson (Wk), Grant Stewart, Darren Stevens,Ollie Rayner,Harry Podmore, Matthew Milnes.


About Author

Football, Boxing and Cricket correspondent from Hampshire, covering southern sport. Editor and Head of Boxing at Prost International. Accreditated EFL & EPL journalist.

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