Vitality County Championship
Vitality County Championship Logo Fri 19 - Mon 22 Apr, 11:00

Utilita Bowl, Southampton

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Report: Hampshire v Warwickshire, County Championship

Day Four

Rob Yates made sure all of Warwickshire’s top three average over 100 after the first three Vitality County Championship fixtures – but his unbeaten 84 couldn’t prevent an inevitable draw with Hampshire.

Yates, opening partner Alex Davies and No.3 Will Rhodes are three of the top four run scorers in Division One so far this season with averages of 123, 120, and 116.

All three attempted to up the run-rate in a bid to force a result at Utilita Bowl but eventually rain won the day and the points were shared.

Warwickshire pick up 13 points to Hampshire’s 10 – with neither side yet to win or lose a game after three rounds.

The visitors began the day with a 136-run lead but have a positive approach to trying to win, even if the odds, and in this case pitch, seemed stacked against them.

Davies was dropped at gully after adding one to his overnight score, and only added a single before advancing to Mohammad Abbas and skewing to short third to end a 56-run opening stand. He now has 481 runs this season and sits on top of the charts.

Yates was tasked to keep the scoreboard ticking, while the proper aggression came from the other end, with Rhodes, Ed Barnard and Dan Mousley not needing a second invitation to attack.

Boundaries remained tricky to consistently score but Warwickshire particularly impressed with their running between the wickets, which added runs consistently at over four runs an over.

Rhodes is up to 348 runs in the Championship but his 25 off 39 was ended when he was leg-before to a delivery which turned from Liam Dawson.

The degree of spin would have excited Warwickshire, and their spinners Danny Briggs and Yates, as they started to plot the perfect time to pull out and put some pressure on the hosts.

The Yates and Rhodes alliance had brought 46 runs and Yates continued with Barnard in a similar vein – with a 54 run stand, as Yates picked up his half-century in 84 balls with a delicious cut to the boundary.

Barnard fell for a 17-ball 18 when he skied Dawson, with the left-arm spinner settling underneath it himself.

Mousley picked out mid on after a quick-fire 14 before the drizzle that had come down throughout the morning got slightly heavier after lunch and saw play stopped at 14:00 BST.

It proved terminal as hands were shaken two hours later, with Hampshire at the foot of the table and Yates left unbeaten after his third 50 plus score of the season.

Warwickshire First Team Coach Mark Robinson: “One or two people have written that game off but we were having a go. The boys were determined to bat positively and get into a position where we could look at them, and put them under some pressure. But the weather hasn’t allowed that to happen.

“The game meandered yesterday in a first session which went nowhere. That kind of helped us as it put them under a lot of pressure when they realised that they were going to be short of bonus points, and we cashed in.

“We’ve done our best to try and force a victory but the weather hasn’t allowed us to capitalise.

“The bowlers are dying for [a more competitive pitch]. They have done some heavy duty in the dirt. We want to get back to a ball that will swing and a surface that the ball will go through on and the edges will carry.

“[The top three all averaging 100] is fantastic and great for their confidence and how they have played. Yatesy has expanded his game a little bit and played with more aggression. He has been more on the front foot, played expansively and attractively. He is in a good place as a cricket; catching well, his bowling and scoring runs.

“For Davo as captain it is big to take some pressure off with some runs. With Will looks like the captaincy off his shoulders has allowed him to play with freedom and confidence. 

“We know we will be tested more with the Dukes ball and on wickets with more carry. There are some challenges to come but we have played some good cricket in the last two matches and driven games which we can take forward.”

Day Three

Warwickshire’s spin twins Danny Briggs (3/73) and Rob Yates (4/37) have given Warwickshire a sniff of a win as they prepare for the final day of their Vitality County Championship against Hampshire at the Utilita Bowl with a 136-run lead.

The duo, thrusted into action after a wicketless opening session, impressed on a surface with visible cracks to give Alex Davies’ side the momentum with 96 overs left to play.

Fletcha Middleton celebrated his maiden Vitality County Championship century, but the hosts could be left to rue an afternoon collapse that saw them lose five middle-order wickets for 45, which put Warwickshire on course for a 90-run first-innings lead.

Homegrown Middleton, impressive in last season’s Metro Bank One Day Cup, amassed 116, having put on 213 runs for the second wicket with fellow centurion Nick Gubbins.

But after a session of nothingness, best summed up by a funky field of four midwickets, three covers, a man under the helmet on the offside and a slip, things came alive with stomachs full.

Hampshire lost five wickets for 45 runs, in a 103 for six session.

Gubbins fell shortly after lunch for 119 when he yorked himself to a Danny Briggs delivery which then spun out the footholds. A James Fuller experiment to try and boost the run-rate failed as he swished to short third for a nine-ball five.

Amongst the drama, Middleton, a naturally shy man, looked relieved more than ecstatic to reach three figures with a cover drive, and almost needed coaxing into celebrating by proud captain James Vince.

It was a fleeting happy moment for Hampshire before Vince was adjudged caught behind and Tom Prest edged Hassan Ali to second slip – no mean feat on a pitch offering next to no carry for the seamers.

At this point the scorecard looked a curious mix of four single-figure scores and two centuries but Liam Dawson and Ben Brown made things look slightly better with a 41-run stand.

However, Hampshire’s slowness meant they only picked up a single batting bonus point – inexplicable as Utilita Bowl pitches have been partly designed this season to boost that aspect which would underpin a hopeful title tilt. For comparison, Warwickshire reached their first batting point in 67.2 overs, Hampshire in 93.4.

Yates then took over to have Middleton caught bat-pad, before Dawson and Ian Holland turned him to leg slip.

The part-time spinner completed back-to-back four-wicket hauls when Kyle Abbott thumped to midwicket before Briggs wrapped things up when Ben Brown’s leading edge saw him exit for 49. Hampshire were bowled out for 365, before the visitors got through 15 overs to close unharmed.

Rob Yates – who now has 296 runs and 11 wickets this season – and opening partner Alex Davies reached 46 without loss by close – a lead of 136.

Warwickshire spinner Danny Briggs: “I think we bowled the whole of the first innings. It was a long one at 130 overs but we stuck at it as seamers and spinners. We knew over a long period of time we would get our rewards. It was nice what happened in the afternoon and we will see what we can do in the last day.

“They tried to force something that brought us into the game, and gave us our first bowling point. It probably gave us a bit of momentum going forward through the afternoon and evening.

“We were surprised as they had a big partnership but we kept them in check the whole time. It plays to our advantage as when you pick up a few wickets you get a few batters who don’t quite know how to go about things for the rest of the innings.

“Rob Yates has been really consistent and he spins it. He has been working hard as long as I’ve been at the club and it is nice to see him get more opportunities with the ball. There is no doubting how good he can be.

“We’ll have a chat in the morning and see what we can do as a batting group. The tempo has been good all year and I don’t think that will change tomorrow. We’ll see what we can get to post lunch and what the potential is.”

Day Two

Warwickshire set Hampshire a challenge to avoid the follow-on after reaching 455 all out on day two at the Utilita Bowl.

But despite Olly Hannon-Dalby claiming an early wicket for Mark Robinson’s side – which left the hosts on 16/1 – Bears’ bowling attack was frustrated by a flat pitch and some stubborn, sluggish batting resistance.

Fletcha Middleton and Nick Gubbins unhurriedly scored half-centuries in reply.

The duo put on 124 together for the unbroken second wicket to get Hampshire to 140 for one – 315 behind the visitors – at the end of the day.

Warwickshire resumed to find a pitch that had become slow and harder to score quickly on – the rate dropping from 3.5 runs per over on the first day to 3.1 on the second – but equally tricky to find breakthroughs with the ball.

Nightwatchman Danny Briggs was a particular frustration for his former county as he stoutly kept Dan Mousley company for almost an hour, in a 46-run stand.

His wicket, bowled about his legs by good friend Dawson, wasn’t enough to give the hosts more than one bowling bonus point, while Warwickshire fell nine runs short of 400 in their quest for a fourth batting point.

The switch back to Dukes balls hasn’t seen a marked difference to what was seen in the fixture with Lancashire, but Hampshire did get through five balls during their bowling effort as the ball regularly found itself out of shape. Warwickshire also needed to replace their original ball in the 40th over.

Mousley was given a life on 32 when Ben Brown couldn’t stump him quickly enough, but Tom Prest’s leg-side line tactic had him bowled three balls later.

Jacob Bethell got a start before chasing Mohammad Abbas outside off stump only to edge to Brown.

Either side of lunch, Hassan Ali chipped Dawson to mid-on, before Michael Burgess returned from the interval to lose his middle stump to a nip-backer from James Fuller.

Dawson ended the innings when Olly Hannon-Dalby advanced, swung and was castled.

Hannon-Dalby was rhythmic, accurate and impossible for Ali Orr to get in against. Orr managed one boundary but otherwise was pinned down against the tall seamer for 22 balls before he was lbw to a ball which nipped back.

Gubbins almost followed Orr straight back to the Rod Bransgrove Pavilion but was spilled at second slip, before he and Middleton found a defensive groove.

It was rarely an attractive watch from either batter but none of the seven bowlers used by Warwickshire could find a chink in their defences.

Warwickshire head coach Mark Robinson: “Bowls and lbws are the best ways as the bounce is low. We have created a few chances, none of them easy, and we have bowled really well and kept them under three runs an over.

“Batting isn’t easy when you bowl well with straight fields as it is hard to accelerate the game but we have to chip away and hopefully have a window – the odd one has spun and the odd one has stayed low

“We were good, full stop, all the way through. In this and the last game, we have bowled a lot better than the results would suggest. If we keep putting the ball in the areas we keep putting it in we will get our fortune on wickets that are more conducive.

“We need to keep hammering away. Starting isn’t easy as your shins and lbws are always in the game.”

Day One

Alex Davies continued his run-fuelled start to the Vitality County Championship season with an immense century as Warwickshire tyrannised Hampshire.

New Bears skipper Davies has already totted up 441 runs this season – over 60 per cent of the runs he managed in 2023 – with scores of 36, 256 and on this occasion 149 to lead from the front.

He was partnered with equally high-scoring Rob Yates and Will Rhodes – who are up to 286 and 323 runs this campaign after 69 and 81 at Utilita Bowl.

Warwickshire ended day one on 340 for four – with Liam Dawson’s double and a wicket apiece for Kyle Abbott and Mohammad Abbas giving Hampshire minimal cheer.

Hampshire head coach Adi Birrell had forewarned that the pitch had been designed to be identical to the season opener against Lancashire last week – a match that petered out to a draw.

A change in ball from Kookaburra to Dukes had hoped to offer the bowlers more assistance but in fact it only helped the batters score quicker – especially with a short boundary on one side.

Davies’ decision to bat after winning the toss was a no-brainer, proved as such as he put on a clinic of field manipulation and boundary hitting.

He and opening partner Yates tore into the over-pitching Abbott early on – the South African went for 29 in his opening four overs as the opening stand whizzed past 50 inside 14 overs.

The duo were coming off the back of an epic 343-run stand against Worcestershire at Edgbaston last week. 

As they raced to 114 by lunch, with barely an oooh or an ahhh from Hampshire’s bowlers, a similarly massive alliance looked likely. The hosts wouldn’t have been amiss to have checked the maker’s name on the ball.

Yates had reached his fifty in 80 balls, but fell in the second over of the resumption after Abbott changed tact.

The former Test quick had exclusively bowled around the wicket before the interval but afterwards came over, and managed to get the left-hander to nick behind with the ball angling across him.

The breakthrough didn’t spark a collapse as a 116-run partnership made way for a 174-run one.

Davies has replaced Rhodes as captain this season put the pair batted as one against a bowling attack struggling to find a cutting edge.

Davies eased through his half-century in 82 deliveries, and despite being bowled by James Fuller off a no-ball, breezed to a ninth first-class ton in 166 balls.

Other than a swept maximum off Liam Dawson, Rhodes was workmanlike and unmemorable in his batting – but his style simply saw the runs column continue to increase steadily. His half-century took 97 balls.

Davies fell for 149 when edged to James Vince at first slip while attempting to work Dawson to the legside.

A new ball soon after saw Abbas pin Rhodes on the shin for 81 before Ed Barnard was lbw to Dawson to give Hampshire a brighter end to a batting-dominant day – typified by only 22 plays and misses.

Warwickshire captain and batter Alex Davies: “It is a nice surface to bat on. There are a few cracks and it is very dry, that is the reason for batting first and we’ve had a nice day with the bat. All the batters in the country didn’t sleep as easy last night knowing that the Dukes was coming but it is a good pitch and the conditions suit it. 

“Me and Rob back ourselves to deliver for the team. We enjoy batting together, we have good chemistry and have a good laugh. We’re both playing nicely at the minute but we both know there will be a green pitch later on in the year with our name on it and we’ll be back in the shed by quarter past. We will make hay while we can and are playing nicely.

“Umpire Martin Saggers asked me if I could put the lottery on for him tonight [after being bowled off a new ball]. It isn’t often you get bowled off a no ball – maybe it was just my day today.

“I have worked hard over the winter and I’m not putting anything on it down to being captain, but you do want to lead by example and spread the message that you’re trying to give to the boys. I don’t want Rob or Will to go under the radar either.”

Preview: Hampshire v Warwickshire, County Championship

Pakistan pace bowler Hassan Ali makes a welcome return to Warwickshire’s squad for the Vitality County Championship trip to Hampshire.

Ali’s return to Edgbaston – which he refers to as his “second home” – was delayed following changes in the hierarchy at the Pakistan Cricket Board and an extended training camp.

But the 29-year-old – who took 24 red ball wickets in seven matches for the Bears last season – is in line to make his comeback at Southampton’s Utilita Bowl.

It’s a timely return for First Team Coach Mark Robinson who was dealt another bowling blow this week with news that Chris Rushworth will be sidelined for several weeks with a pulled calf.

Robinson said: “It’s great to have Hassan back in the dressing room. He’s been working with Stu Barnes (Bowling Coach) as he’s not had a red ball in his hand for a while. So we’re getting him back up to speed with bat and ball. 

“He’s a warrior. We know he’ll charge in, and make an impact in this game and others as the season develops. 

“He’ll replace Chris Rushworth who had to withdraw from the Durham game last week with a tight calf and we now know he’s going to miss a few weeks. It’s a bitter pill to swallow so soon after losing Liam Norwell and Michael Booth to injury.

“But that’s sport, you have to roll with it. 

“Having Hassan back is a huge boost and we’re awaiting international clearance on a second overseas signing. So we’re working hard behind the scenes to solve problems.

“The squad is in good spirits, we played some good cricket in the last match and we’re looking forward to testing ourselves against Hampshire.”

The Utilita Bowl (formerly Rose Bowl) was the scene of a standout County Championship success for Warwickshire last season as a devastating 13-over spell from Rushworth, in which he claimed seven wickets for 38 runs, sealed an innings victory.

Robinson knows Hampshire will provide a stern test, while his batters will also have to readjust to facing the traditional Dukes ball.

“They’ll be out for revenge after last season,” he added. “In Muhammad Abbas they have one of the best seamers in the country, plus another international bowler in Sean Abbott. 

“They’ll have a Dukes ball in their hands so batters will have to make some adjustments, taking the ball later as in theory it will do more. So we need to show a bit more judgement on what balls to leave and what to play.

“We go into the game with good form and confidence. Looking at every single matrix we use to measure our performance, we were so much better in the last match than we were against Worcestershire. 

“We were creating chances, beating the bat, and on another day could have come away with a win. We’ll take confidence from that, and some of our batters filled their boots, though it was unfortunate Michael Burgess and Jacob Bethell didn’t get any time in the middle.

“We’re excited about going to the Rose Bowl, we had a great win there last season and we’ll be doing everything we can to repeat it.”


Hassan Ali
Ed Barnard
Chris Benjamin
Jacob Bethell
Danny Briggs
Michael Burgess (wk)
Alex Davies (C)
Olly Hannon-Dalby
Craig Miles
Dan Mousley
Will Rhodes
Che Simmons
Rob Yates


This will be the 167th match against Hampshire, Warwickshire have won 53 and lost 46.


Career statistics:

Ed Barnard requires 8 wickets to reach 300 First Class wickets.
Danny Briggs requires 4 wickets to reach 350 First Class wickets.
Craig Miles requires 3 wickets to reach 350 First Class wickets.

Warwickshire statistics:

Dan Mousley requires 50 runs to reach 1,000 First Class runs.
Danny Briggs requires 40 runs to reach 1,000 First Class run.

How to Follow

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Match updates will also be available across the Club’s social media accounts, simply search for @WarwickshireCCC.

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