18 May 2023 | LV= Insurance County Championship 2023
56 all out
176 all out
367 all out
Hampshire win by an innings and 135 runs

Day One

Words by Alex Smith, ECB Reporters Network

James Vince was finally dismissed at the Utilita Bowl after again dominating Northamptonshire with an expert 95 in the LV= Insurance County Championship.

Hampshire captain Vince had clocked up 232 runs in 514 minutes since he was last dismissed at the Utilita Bowl, while he has now passed fifty in four of his last five Championship innings.

The batter, who had dismayed Northamptonshire with 186 at Wantage Road last month, mixed grit with his typically stylish stroke play to help his side to 331 for six at close.

Around Vince, Fletcha Middleton impressed with 40 and Ben Brown with 44 before Liam Dawson chalked up 56 not out. With the ball, James Sales was the pick with two for 32, while Jack White claimed two for 65.

Northamptonshire are sick of the sight of Vince after his mammoth knock in an innings victory at Wantage Road last month. That bile would have swelled in their mouths after he won the toss and chose to bat, with all conditions assisting run-making.

Vince was the least of Northamptonshire’s worries in the first half an hour as Middleton and Joe Weatherley enjoyed an explosive start against an attack lacking the injured Ben Sanderson.

The pair scored 12 in the first over and were up to 22 after the second as the first 31 minutes saw the half-century stand arrive in only 46 balls.

But Jordan Buckingham brilliantly angled in and seamed away to bowl Weatherley to halt and swing the momentum.

Northamptonshire had by no means disgraced themselves in that avalanche of runs but slightly tighter lines and a slightly softer ball stemmed the runs and built pressure.

The remaining 90 minutes of the session saw just 45 more runs with Middleton playing across the line to be bowled by Sales and the bogged-down Nick Gubbins leg before to Jack White.

Vince had arrived and was joined by Brown; the two experienced pros refused to allow a collapse similar to that which turned their last home fixture with Warwickshire into a catastrophe.

Vince’s England Test days are almost certainly behind him now, he wasn’t named in the squad to face Ireland next month – not that anyone had suggested him – and hasn’t featured since the last of his 13 Tests in 2018.

Quietly though, he has been finding the form an often-fragile Hampshire batting line-up needs from him. His 186 at Northampton was followed by twin-unbeaten fifties in the Warwickshire defeat. Only James Rew and Tom Westley have more than his 477 Division One runs this season.

Here he was patient, especially against the nagging accuracy of Sales and Tom Taylor but still had time to play his greatest hits – his 50 in 100 balls came with a cover drive.

Brown was equally sedate in the 106-run stand, although earned a life when he was dropped at second slip before he was eventually bowled chopping on Sales.

Vince quickly moved on to partnering up with Dawson and another fruitful stand; this time worth 75.

But hopes of a 29th first-class century were thwarted in the over before the second new ball as an innocuous forward defence to Rob Keogh was tickled behind. Ian Holland followed when he was lbw to White with the new cherry.

Dawson continued from his 84 against Kent last week to end the day’s landmark curse with his fifty coming in 79 balls, during an unbeaten 50 stand with Keith Barker.

On first-class debut, leg-spinner Alex Russell, 21, showed high promise with a number of challenging deliveries despite going wicketless.

Day Two

Words by Alex Smith, ECB Reporters Network

Northamptonshire’s LV=Insurance County Championship batting woes continued as they were bowled out for 56 – the lowest total in the Utilita Bowl’s 22-year history.

Hampshire fast bowler Keith Barker was their main tormentor as he pilfered four for 13 in his 12 overs, while Mohammad Abbas and Ian Holland grabbed two wickets each.

Only Saif Zaib managed to reach double figures – scoring 29 – with four of his team-mates falling for ducks as they scored one run fewer than Hampshire’s 57 against Kent on the ground last season.

It meant they gave up a 311 run first innings deficit, after Hampshire had earlier been bowled out for 367, with close seeing a further two wickets fall - the score 50 for two with Hampshire's lead now 261.

Northamptonshire overachieved many expectations with their sixth-placed finish in the Championship last season – with Luke Procter, Emilio Gay, and Rob Keogh all scoring in excess of 800 runs.

So far this year, there has been just a solitary batting point in five matches and totals of 72, 63, and now 56.

They are also the only side not to have a batter make 300 runs yet this season – although that is somewhat mitigated by Gay and Procter’s missed games through injury.

Unsurprisingly that modest batting record has only translated to a single victory.

Their attempts to improve that started horrendously as Hassan Azad was barbequed by Gay and run out without facing a ball in the first over – Mason Crane’s brilliant direct hit at point splattering the stumps.

No words were spoken as Azad trudged off, while Gay would frenetically go on to get dropped at second slip before taking on an Abbas bouncer, only to stick it straight down deep square leg Fletcha Middleton’s throat.

Sam Whiteman would also fall lbw to Barker as Northamptonshire reached lunch on 18 for three.

That 11-over stint saw the very best of left-armer Barker. His six overs returned one for four and included only one scoring shot – off the penultimate ball of the session.

Barker returned from lunch hungry for wickets and had Ricardo Vasconcelos lbw when walking across his stumps.

The former Warwickshire man then produced a double wicket maiden – his seventh maiden in 12 overs – where he found Keogh pushing to third slip and James Sales beaten for pace.

Tom Taylor was caught low down at fourth slip off Abbas and Jordan Buckingham edged Holland to second slip to continue the collapse.

Zaib had replicated the steady Hampshire batting approach from the first day, where the pitch had seemed slow and patience was needed to pick the moments to score. With partners running out he advanced and slapped to cover.

Hampshire’s bowling attack is without Kyle Abbott and James Fuller for this match – due to knee trouble and illness – it meant Championship debutant John Turner and leg-spinner Crane were promoted into the team.

Turner bowled with decent pace in his first 3.2 overs before he ended the sorry Northamptonshire innings by knocking back Jack White’s off stump.

It was Northamptonshire’s second-lowest total of the 21st century and lowest ever away to Hampshire.

Rain knocked 27 off the day, but the belated start to the second innings saw Gay once again put down at second slip and Azam complete a same-day pair – although this time at least faced seven balls before Barker pinned him lbw.

Gay and Whiteman showed some solidity before Turner entered the attack and had the former lbw to complete a miserable day for the visitors.

Earlier, Hampshire added 36 runs and lost their four remaining wickets, as they gained a third batting bonus point.

Liam Dawson and Barker’s 74-run stand for the seventh wicket was ended when Tom Taylor nipped one back to bowl Dawson for 63.

White, who ended up with figures of four for 80, had Holland lbw and Turner caught brilliantly at second slip by Gay in successive balls.

The innings was rounded up when Abbas edged Taylor to first slip, before havoc was wreaked.

Day Three

Words by Alex Smith, ECB Reporters Network

Northamptonshire succumbed to their third straight innings LV= Insurance County Championship defeat to Hampshire led by Liam Dawson’s five-wicket haul.

Dawson claimed six for 61 for his sixth first-class five-for and his best figures at Utilita Bowl to reignite Hampshire’s title hopes after two winless matches, with the innings and 135 run victory coming inside three days.

Northamptonshire, who have one win and a solitary batting bonus point so far this season, only claimed three points from the match as they sit rock bottom of Division One.

Hampshire have dominated Northamptonshire in their three Championship clashes – starting at Utilita Bowl last September and continuing in home and away drubbings this term.

Their three innings have resulted in 1,249 runs – in response, Northamptonshire have only cobbled together 840 in six innings.

This thrashing was fashioned on the first two days.

Hampshire grafted hard to score 367 runs in just over a day, thanks to James Vince’s 95, Dawson’s 63, and forties for Fletcha Middleton and Ben Brown.

Northamptonshire were bowled out for a new Utilita Bowl low of 56 in 30.2 overs and were already two down in their second innings by the close.

Their head coach John Sadler called for “fight, graft and resilience” and promoted the idea of classic red ball batting going forward. Sam Whiteman and Rob Keogh took that to heart.

The duo batted out 39 of the first 42 balls of the day as dots and took little risks, while starting to nibble away at the deficit.

Whiteman would face 93 balls and Keogh 113, but after an hour of occupation under stunning blue skies, a collapse wasn’t far away.

Dawson’s second over of the day was long enough to see Australian Whiteman attempt a drive out of the rough, only to get bowled through the gate.

Ricardo Vasconcelos also took the attacking route out but missed his slog sweep by a distance to leave his stumps exposed.

Keogh had been dropped earlier in the morning by Dawson before the left-arm spinner had him leg before with an arm ball. Northamptonshire now 150 for five having been 89 for two little more than 10 overs earlier.

Mohammad Abbas had James Sales lbw with the first ball after lunch to begin a post-interval collapse of 33 for five.

Dawson returned to pin Tom Taylor in front for a pair – joining Hassan Azad in the scoreless corner – before Jordan Buckingham went back to another one which went on with the arm.

Saif Zaib – who had been the only Northamptonshire batter to reach double figures in the first innings – again impressed with a 78-ball fifty. He showed application, mixed with some attractive shot-making to end up unbeaten on 57.

But Dawson kissed the top of Jack White’s off stump with a ragging delivery and Mason Crane - on his first appearance of the season - got Alex Russell to edge to first slip to end Northamptonshire’s miserable trip to the south coast at 2:40pm. The last eight wickets had been lost for just 87 runs.