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County Championship
County Championship Logo Mon 26 - Thu 29 Sep, 10:30

Edgbaston, Birmingham

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Warwickshire

Warwickshire

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Warwickshire

Hampshire

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Report: Warwickshire v Hampshire, County Championship

Day Four

Liam Norwell powered Warwickshire to an incredible escape from relegation in the LV= Insurance County Championship as his career-best nine for 62 sealed a five-run win over Hampshire on a thrilling final day of the season. 

Set a target of 139 to secure runners up spot (and condemn the 2021 champions to the drop), Hampshire were blown away for 133 as Norwell, returning at the end of an injury-ravaged season, bowled magnificently in several spells from the Pavilion End. 

His excellence lifted Warwickshire above the relegation trapdoor in the final moments of the season and dumped Yorkshire into Division Two instead.  

After resuming in the morning on 62 for two, the Bears appeared to have relinquished their survival hopes when they collapsed to 177 all out. Dom Sibley, in his last game for the Bears before rejoining Surrey, made 77 (101 balls) but James Fuller (four for 34) and Brad Wheal (three for 68) exploited the desperate quest for quick runs. 

Hampshire needed 139 in 72 overs but slumped to 91 for seven and, despite Nick Gubbins’s steadfast 46 (104 balls), they fell just short to suffer an agonising defeat and slip to third place in the table. 

For the victors, joy. For the defeated, angst. And for the countless spectators monitoring from around the world, brilliant entertainment which again underlined the ability of both red ball cricket and county cricket to deliver a memorable entertainment.  

With all the pressure on the home side, Hampshire set defensive fields in the morning and bowled well to them. Wheal was first to benefit as Alex Davies (32, 47 balls) and Will Rhodes sent up catches. Fuller then capitalised when Dan Mousley and Jake Bethell perished on the ultra-offensive.  

Sam Hain’s runner was then run out by James Vince’s direct hit. Danny Briggs clouted his first ball for six but found deep mid-wicket with another attempt, Fuller yorked Norwell and Sibley was last to go, lbw to Ian Holland, before walking off to a fond valedictory ovation. 

Hannon-Dalby then struck first with a beauty which took Felix Organ’s edge…Norwell did the rest. He bowled Holland, offering no shot, trapped Joe Weatherley lbw and had Vince caught at long leg. At 49 for four, it was very much game on. 

Norwell returned just before tea to pin Ben Brown lbw and completed his five-for when Nye Donald chipped to extra cover. He then castled Keith Barker but Gubbins and Fuller added 33 to take their side to the brink of victory.  

The admirable Norwell had the last say though. He trapped Gubbins lbw, ripped out Fuller’s middle stump and, to enormous cheers from the crowd, won an lbw decision against Mohammed Abbas to complete a true ‘I was there’ day for Warwickshire’s supporters. Yorkshire’s fans are unlikely to forget it in a hurry either.


Day Three

A titanic tussle is close to reaching its conclusion as Warwickshire and Hampshire have plenty to scrap for heading into the final days of the LV= Insurance County Championship clash at Edgbaston. 

James Vince and Keith Barker combined to strengthen Hampshire’s hold on second place, whilst the Bears will need to work quickly in the first session to ensure their status in the top division.

Replying to the home side’s 272 for four declared, Hampshire made 311 thanks to Vince (98, 150 balls) and former Edgbaston favourite Barker (76, 111).  

Warwickshire closed on 62 for two second time round – 23 ahead – but, after rain took out much of the first two days, a draw is overwhelmingly likely. That would secure runners up spot for Vince’s side and send the Bears down. 

Warwickshire need to find something spectacular on the final day if they are not to follow the glory of the title with the embarrassment of relegation. Yorkshire’s defeat to Gloucestershire at Headingley has left them a glimmer of hope but the Bears must win this match.  

Only some very quick runs in the morning, followed by ten rapid wickets on a good batting pitch, will keep them out of Division Two. It would be one of the greatest of escapes. 

Having declared early to move the game forward after much weather damage, Warwickshire needed a big morning with the ball when Hampshire resumed on four without loss. They didn’t help themselves when Ian Holland was dropped at slip by Dom Sibley before scoring. Holland’s opening partner Felix Organ was also missed before he had scored the previous evening. 

Norwell broke through when Organ edged again and this time Sibley clung on and Warwickshire gave their supporters hope by reducing Hampshire to 92 for five. Holland inside-edged Will Rhodes to wicketkeeper Alex Davies, Joe Weatherley edged Henry Brookes and Nick Gubbins played on to Norwell. When Ben Brown edged Norwell to gully, with Yorkshire wobbling in Leeds, the Bears fans were daring to dream. 

The dream dissipated in the light of partnerships of 75 in 11 overs between Vince and Nye Donald (36, 31 balls) and 63 in 24 between Vince and Barker before the captain edged Danny Briggs two runs short of his 28th first class century. 

Warwickshire’s season-long struggle to polish off the lower order then persisted as Barker and James Fuller added 71 in 16 overs. Barker spent 149 minutes screwing down the lid on his old team’s relegation coffin before sending up a catch off Brookes. 

In 16 overs before the close, the home side had no option but to attack and lost Rob Yates and Henry Brookes in the process, but further attack in the morning is their only escape route.  


Day Two

Rob Yates completed his seventh first-class century but Warwickshire and Hampshire were again kept largely inactive on the second day of their crucial LV= Insurance County Championship tussle at Edgbaston. 

It was a deeply frustrating day for Warwickshire, who must win to have any chance of avoiding relegation, and equally so for the spectators. They saw a dearth of cricket in the day, just 32.1 overs,  while both lunch and tea intervals were taken in dry weather and then the last session was ended prematurely for bad light. 

Warwickshire declared on 272 for four, Yates having made 104 (185 balls) and Ian Holland taking three for 85, before the visitors replied with four without loss in 19 balls before the close. 

With Yorkshire in jeopardy on a turning track at Bristol, the escape hatch is still ajar for the champions. They have enough bonus points to overhaul the White Rose (if the White Rose lose) but the Bears still need to win this match.  

Taking 20 wickets with an injured-ravaged bowling attack on a good batting pitch with likely further interference from the weather is unlikely. Their hopes of a status-salvaging victory may lie in collusion as Hampshire need five points to be sure of fending off Lancashire’s challenge for runners-up spot. 

After the loss of 55 overs on the first day, Warwickshire resumed on 138 for two but rain and bad light soon made a nuisance of themselves. The first three fragments of cricket brought 66, 37 and 16 balls respectively. 

Yates, 77 not out overnight, advanced to his century from 179 balls with 19 fours and added 85 in 23 overs with Sam Hain before both fell in four balls. Yates was bowled by Holland’s first ball after an interruption and Hain (44) edged a fine delivery from Fuller to wicketkeeper Aneurin Donald. 

Hampshire’s seamers got a few past the bat but the pitch is good for batting and Will Rhodes (28) and Dan Mousley (27) added an unbroken 58 in 51 balls before yet another interruption. 

That triggered the declaration as Warwickshire sought to move the game on. Hampshire avoided damage in the awkward little session though Felix Organ should have gone in the first over when he edged Olly Hannon-Dalby but Hain grassed the chance at second slip. 

Then the players were taken off for bad light and, though the sun came out immediately, there was no getting them back out. Sometimes, county cricket shouldn’t be allowed out. 


Day One

Warwickshire retained their sliver of hope of avoiding relegation from LV= Insurance County Championship Division One with a solid start with the bat on the opening day against Hampshire at Edgbaston. 

First team coach Mark Robinson admitted before the match that Warwickshire need “a lot to go our way” for them to stay up. First and foremost they have to win with plentiful batting points and they laid a decent platform by reaching 138 for two on a day stripped of 55 overs by rain and bad light. 

The visitors chose to bowl but enjoyed no early success, despite some help from the pitch. Their bowling was not bad, and a shade unlucky at times, but perhaps lacked a bit of sparkle, an understandable legacy of the shock implosion of their title challenge against Kent last week. 

After the first session was lost to the weather, openers Rob Yates (77 not out, 129 balls) and Dom Sibley (54, 109) added 129 in 38 overs against a Hampshire attack missing spearhead Kyle Abbot (58 championship wickets at 19.68 this season) due to a knee injury. 

There was no joy for Keith Barker against the team for whom he took 359 first class wickets and which he helped to the 2012 County Championship title. Yates was particularly fluent from the off and reached 50 from 90 balls with his tenth four, flicked through mid-wicket off Barker. 

The scoring rate remained reasonably brisk, as was required with Warwickshire needing every possible batting point. Sibley, on his farewell appearance at Edgbaston before rejoining Surrey, followed to his half-century from 105 balls and the pair posted Warwickshire’s first century opening stand since the first game of the season. 

The breakthrough finally arrived when Sibley tickled a leg-side catch to wicketkeeper Aneurin Donald off Ian Holland. Holland immediately struck again when Alex Davies offered no shot to a ball which struck off stump but Sam Hain met the hat-trick ball with the middle of a forward defensive bat and bad light soon closed back in to lop off the last 14 overs. 

Warwickshire are without India all-rounder Jayant Yadav, who has returned home after being called up for the Rest of India squad, but have welcomed back fast bowler Liam Norwell after injury. 

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Preview: Warwickshire v Hampshire, County Championship

First team coach Mark Robinson admits that Warwickshire “need a lot to go our way” if they are to avoid relegation from the LV= Insurance County Championship Division One this week. 

Bears face Hampshire at Edgbaston in their final game of the season tomorrow placed ninth in the table and in a bleak position. In theory they can overhaul Kent (14 points away and Yorkshire 15) but need either of those teams to collect almost no points from their matches against Somerset and Gloucestershire respectively. And, first and foremost, of course, the Bears must win.  

If the pieces do fall into place it would constitute one of county cricket’s great escapes, comparable to that which the Bears pulled off in 2010 under the captaincy of Ian Westwood. But at the end of a season which has brought more than its share of misfortune, they will be without both India stars: fast bowler Mohammed Siraj has returned home for personal reasons and all-rounder Jayant Yadav has left following his call up by his national set-up.   

What a contrast in every way to 12 months ago when the Bears were preparing to face Somerset in their final game on the brink of winning the title. The reasons behind the plummet in fortunes will no doubt be pondered at length at Edgbaston and beyond in the months ahead but it shows, above all, how incredibly cyclical sport can be. As a very wise man in a Warwick garage mused this week, when appraised of recent events at Edgbaston: “That’s sport innit?”   

Hampshire will arrive in Birmingham for the 165th championship meeting between the sides also in less than buoyant mood after their title aspirations imploded against Kent last week. 

All the Bears can do, insists Robinson, is keep going and ‘keep believing.’ 

“We need a lot to go our way,” the coach said. “We need nicks to carry and decisions to go our way and then results to fall our way elsewhere, so we’re realistic to what is needed.  

“But equally we plan to win and prepare to win. It’s all we can do. You have to keep believing and doing the right things.  

“We have lost Jayant as well as he’s gone to play for India, so that’s a blow. We found that out before the Gloucestershire game that he would be going so whatever happened there he was travelling back, but you soldier on, don’t you?  

“There are certainly things we can do a lot better and we’ve got to improve those, but at the moment there’s a week of this season to go so we will focus fully on that.” 

Squad

Will Rhodes (C)
Jacob Bethell
Danny Briggs
Henry Brookes
Alex Davies (WK)
George Garrett
Sam Hain
Olly Hannon-Dalby
Dan Mousley
Liam Norwell
Dom Sibley
Ryan Sidebottom
Rob Yates

Michael Burgess continues to be unavailable with Alex Davies taking over the gloves.

Craig Miles is troubled by a sore hamstring and misses out whilst Chris Woakes and Olly Stone remain on England duty for the Pakistan series.

Adam Hose flew out last week to play in the CPL for St Lucia Kings as a late replacement for Tim David.

How to Follow

Members and supporters can follow the match live in our new-look Match Centre at edgbaston.com, which will include a free to watch Live Stream, with BBC commentary, and a live text commentary.

Supporters can get involved by sending their match day comments and thoughts to matchday@edgbaston.com, and we’ll publish the best ones on our live text commentary in the Match Centre.

Supporters can also watch the Live Stream and get instant push notifications of all wickets, innings and match results via the Edgbaston app, which is free to download on iOS and Android.

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

Rewind: Warwickshire v Hampshire, 1998

Brian Lara’s return to Warwickshire as captain in 1998 was not a happy one, but Hampshire’s championship visit to Edgbaston in mid-July offered a rare highlight that year. 

Four years on from his incredible feats of ’94, Lara was less productive with the bat and less than inspiring as skipper as the Bears endured a desultory season and finished eighth in the championship. But the 225-run win over Hampshire in Birmingham lifted spirits – albeit briefly as the Bears left the field to boos after the next game, a narrow defeat to Essex.   

Hampshire were seen off handsomely, though, thanks to both runs and wickets from spin Neil Smith and Ashley Giles. 

On a difficult pitch, the Bears chose to bat and hit early trouble at 100 for five but were bailed out by the twirlers in the lower order as Giles (75) and Smith (51) took them to 367. Even last man Ed Giddins, a rabbit of the old school, hung around for 11 to add 76 for the last wicket as Giles went on the offensive. 

The slow left-armer then spun his way to five for 48 to secure his side a first innings lead 118. That appeared to be a mighty advantage on a pitch which was worn at the start and deteriorating fast. Second time round, batting was a fraught business as Smith joint top-scored (along with Michael Powell) for the Bears with 27 out of 187, setting Hampshire a highly unlikely target of 306. 

They advanced to 43 for three then fell in a heap against Giles four for nine (nine for 57 in the match) and Smith (two for 16) as the scheduled four-day match was over well inside three. Within a few months, Smith was named as Lara’s replacement as Warwickshire captain. Giles’ long international career was about to take flight. 

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