5 May 2022 | LV= Insurance County Championship Division One 2022
179 all out
280 all out
342 all out
204 all out
Hampshire win by 87 runs

Day One

Felix Organ celebrated his promotion to the top of the order with his second career LV= Insurance County Championship century as Hampshire enjoyed the better of day one against Gloucestershire.

Organ returned to open for the first time this year and made the most of his elevation with a simple, chanceless 107, while putting on 161 with James Vince – who scored an uncomplicated 78.

Gloucestershire pegged the hosts back from 225 for two to 310 for eight - with Mohammad Amir the pick of the bowlers with three for 51.

Jack of all trades Organ had previously opened in nine first-class matches in the 2019 and 2020 seasons. Joe Weatherley and Ian Holland have been Adi Birrell and Vince’s preferred opening pair to leave Organ forging a role as a No.7 offspinner. His bowling utilising the footmarks of left-arm seamer Keith Barker and provides a preferred option that Mason Crane’s leg-spin.

But, his last two matches this season have seen a quick unbeaten 44 to set up a declaration against Kent and a 42 which rescued Hampshire’s first innings versus Lancashire. Add in 69 for Dorset in a T20 earlier this week and his form can be described as ‘in’.

So, when Weatherley was ruled out of this game with a finger injury, there were no doubts Organ was ready to set the tone as an opener.

He was dropped straight into it when Vince decided to bat on a good-looking wicket, and had further pressure placed on his shoulders when Holland was caught behind by a gentle away swinger from Ryan Higgins in the third over. Nick Gubbins, on the back of twin tons last week, added 61 with Organ before he was given an ankle bruiser by Amir.

Organ, born in Sydney, Australia but moved to the UK when young, appeared unfussed and unmovable with a strong defence thwarting Higgins and Amir’s accurate bowling. He and Vince were able to free their arms more against the change bowlers; both adroitly picking the right moments to defend soundly and attack hard.

The afternoon session was particularly brutal for Gloucestershire, with eight players missing through injury, although their wicketless session was not helped when Vince edged a catchable chance between first and second slip when on 25. Otherwise runs flowed freely, fifties were negotiated and a first bonus point was awarded.

Organ’s century arrived with a dab to third in 212 balls and was accompanied by a long primal scream and a double fist-pump from the middle and a stand ovation from both his dressing room and the stands.

Gloucestershire pulled the day back in the evening with Vince and Organ’s wickets in quick succession with the old ball – the former pinned by Amir and the latter caught top-edging former Hampshire team-mate Ajeet Singh Dale to deep fine leg - before Ben Brown nicked the new ball behind.

Aneurin Donald made his stirring return to first-team cricket 962 days since his last innings having recovered twice from ACL injuries. He dabbed his third into the leg-side for a warmly received single but chipped to cover three balls later. Barker and Liam Dawson settled things to add a further 37 before the former edged Miles Hammond's spin behind and James Fuller was bowled to end the day.

Day Two

Mohammad Abbas celebrated his first LV= Insurance County Championship five-wicket haul of the season but Gloucestershire's ripsnorting evening session snatched the momentum from Hampshire.

Hampshire looked set for a first-innings lead in excess of 200 after Abbas ripped through the visitors with a textbook showcase of line and length bowling with six for 45. But Ajeet Singh Dale and Jared Warner added 55 for the last wicket to reduce the deficit to 163.

And then Mohammad Amir continued the Pakistani bowling dominance with three for 11, with Ryan Higgins also pilfering a scalp, to leave Hampshire 28 for four, with their lead 191.

To start the day, Liam Dawson and Kyle Abbott had failed to reach the bonus point for 350 runs despite a spirited morning effort, with Graeme van Buuren pinning Abbott lbw and Dawson flailing to deep extra cover – Hampshire all out for 342.

Abbas came into his own with an incredible seven-over spell of four for 16. Abbas’ second over was an Utilita Bowl classic. Marcus Harris left the first ball and pumped the second for three before the overseas found George Scott’s tentative outside edge behind. James Bracey was shelled at third slip first ball, played and missed the second before he finally tickled behind – Abbas coming over, around and then over the wicket again. A plan hatched by Keith Barker during their meeting last year.

Hampshire were now in the box seat and relentlessly hunted down further wickets. Miles Hammond was the next to feather Abbas to keeper Ben Brown before van Buuren was leg before on the cusp of lunch.

Abbas’ spell initiated murmurs in the Hampshire dressing room that it had produced more heat than other efforts in recent weeks due to compatriots Amir and Naseem Shah watching on.

Marcus Harris ended the procession to Abbas by loosely driving Abbott to second slip and Tom Lace had his off stump left lopsided by James Fuller.

Ryan Higgins countered with an entertaining 46 in conjunction with Dom Goodman before taking on Felix Organ one too many times to top edge to deep midwicket. Abbas then completed his five-wicket haul with a short ball into Goodman’s ribs, which was gloved through to Brown. Amir followed two balls later with a sharp edge to second slip – Abbas celebrating by running down to his friend and laying his hands on his shoulder in a consolidatory manner.

The hosts debated whether to enforce the follow-on or not at the fall of that ninth wicket, only for Dale and Warner to put on 55 – the highest partnership of the innings. Dale, against his former county, laughed at his No.11 billing with a brisk 36. Organ eventually got Warner to push to short leg to bowl Gloucestershire out for 179.

Gloucestershire’s glee was increased as, in 11 evening overs, Amir had Organ jabbing to the cordon second ball, before Ian Holland fell in the following over – caught behind attempting to leave Higgins.

Abbott and Abbas were lbw in successive balls to Amir coming around the wicket, as Hampshire saw their openers and tail disappear in a little over 45 minutes of havoc.

Day Three

Aneurin Donald marked his return from two years of injury hell with a tubthumping 89 as Hampshire and Gloucestershire’s topsy-turvy LV= Insurance County Championship clash set up an exciting final day.

Welshman Donald hadn’t played since September 2019 due to two serious knee injuries but dug Hampshire out of trouble with a 101-run final wicket stand with James Fuller (32 not out) – which included three sixes in a row.

Gloucestershire were set 368 to win, and makeshift opener George Scott moved to an unbeaten career-best 70 to help his side to 111 for two at the close, with 257 still to win and all three results possible. 

Donald’s motto is “no other way but forward”, he’s needed it during batches of operation, recovery and rehabilitation for two separate ACL injuries in the last two years. It was equally applicable to the approach he needed when he arrived at the crease with his side 65 for seven.

Hampshire’s melaise from the previous evening continued when James Vince nicked Ryan Higgins off four balls into the day before Nick Gubbins followed suit. Higgins’ two for 20 and Mohammad Amir’s miserly run an over were the catalyst for Gloucestershire’s early carnage – both ended the innings with three-fors.

Ben Brown under edged Dom Goodman to the keeper, Liam Dawson slogged to deep square and Keith Barker tamely chipped across the line to mid on – Hampshire 103 for nine, and the lead 266.

The extra half an hour was taken which sparked Donald into life. The former Glamorgan batter had to wait 962 days between facing first-team deliveries before a disappointing six-ball single in the first innings. He wasn’t prepared to waste his long-awaited opportunity a second time.

Donald first injured his knee during a post-season inter-club five-a-side football match in 2019. After a lonely recovery in lockdown, he flirted with the idea of featuring in 2020 but avoided the risk, instead he prepared for a 2021 comeback.

Everything appeared on course for that but after he felt his knee go again during an innocuous piece of fielding during a pre-season friendly last year; another frustratingly lengthy lay-off was necessary as he returned to square one.

His knee might have twice failed him but his ability remained. 71 off 28 balls bullying Solent University students, followed by 109 off 73 and 143 off 117 in the Second XI Championship provided the backdrop for his return; and the devastation he rained down on the Utilita Bowl prior to lunch proved he was still capable at the highest domestic level.

A trio of fours off Higgins warmed him up before three successive maximums off his legs and onto the Eastern Bern, the first of which bring up his fifty, sent him into overdrive and turn the game once again back towards Hampshire. In total, 56 runs came in the additional half-hour, with the usually aggressive Fuller allowing Donald to obliterate the bowling – albeit with two lives on 30 and 68.

Post lunch was a more sedate generation of runs for the duo, both unusually low in the order due to nightwatchmen. The stand ended when Jared Warner pumped in a high bouncer which Donald took on and skied. His and Fuller’s efforts meant Hampshire set Gloucestershire what would be their second-highest successful fourth-innings chase.

Scott, who is deputising at the top of the order for the injured Chris Dent, and Marcus Harris appeared in little danger either side of tea, with the sun coming out to further assist the free-flowing Scott and tenacious Harris.

Mohammad Abbas broke the 54-run stand by castling Harris with one which kept low and James Bracey was then pinned going back to Dawson. But Scott continued to chip away, passing fifty for the second time in first-class cricket and moving past his previous best of 55.

Day Four

Hampshire maintained pace in the LV= Insurance County Championship title race as they patiently secured an 87-run victory over Gloucestershire.

Mohammad Abbas followed his first-innings six-wicket haul with three for 62 with Liam Dawson and James Fuller both grabbing two wickets apiece as they seized a final session victory.

George Scott and Miles Hammond’s half-centuries had given Gloucestershire hope of chasing down 368 and a first victory of the season but the second new ball claimed four wickets to dent their dream.

Hampshire move to nine points behind early leaders Surrey after claiming a 21 point haul, while Gloucestershire escape the bottom three with their three bonus points.

Hampshire began the day needing eight wickets, Gloucestershire required another 257 runs in what would have been the second greatest chase in their history and a draw wasn’t out the question either.

The morning session refused to suggest which way the result would be going. 70 runs were scored, with the required rate still manageably under three runs per over, with only a single wicket falling. That scalp was of George Scott, who danced down the track and picked out mid-on, for a personal best 77. Meanwhile, Hammond chalked up his third half-century in a third successive match in 150 mostly serene deliveries – the only worries in the session were the occasional play and misses.

This Utilita Bowl pitch has consistently assisted the new balls across the match, with nine wickets falling within the first 10 overs of it being taken. Hampshire were therefore looking forward to a second cherry soon after lunch, having been forced to persevere on a slow pitch. Thus, Ian Holland sending Graeme van Buuren’s middle stump for a tumble in the 77th over was an added bonus.

Three wickets did fall within 10 overs of James Vince unwrapping a shiny new ball, to swing the balance almost terminally towards Hampshire. Nine balls in and Hammond fell to Keith Barker, who missed a straight one and was pinned in front.

Abbas took his match tally to nine wickets with the quick-fire double of Tom Lace and Dom Goodman – the former clipped to midwicket while the latter tickled a delivery which moved in on the angle behind. Ryan Higgins scored 25 before his attempt at a cut screwed to Ben Brown’s gloves.

Last season, Gloucestershire had frustrated Hampshire with an epic block-a-thon on the final day to draw while nine down – with Goodman’s 48-ball nine saving the match. But there was to be no similar hold-up.

Mohammad Amir was superbly caught by Aneurin Donald running backwards from cover to dive and snaffle a skier and Ajeet Singh Dale was strangled down the leg side – both to Fuller – to end the highly entertaining contest with 25 overs to spare.