Report & Reaction: Hampshire v Durham, Vitality CC

Read the match report & hear reaction from Hampshire's Vitality County Championship match against Durham at Utilita Bowl

Day Four

Felix Organ and James Vince put on 53 to take Hampshire out of a mini-collapse to complete a Vitality County Championship stalemate with Durham which had been inescapable since Friday.

Matthew Potts – two for 19 – reminded England of his skill by removing Hampshire’s openers and added a small amount of jeopardy back into the match.

But Organ and Vince made it safe with risk-free blocking before bad light and rain brought about the inevitable result at 15:40 BST.

Hampshire are still winless after five matches in 2024 but picked up 13 points to Durham’s 11, while the visitors remain undefeated since their return to Division One.

For three days, this had the feeling of a certain draw – and it would – but for a short spell in the morning Durham sensed an unlikely victory.

They lost their last two first-innings wickets – Callum Parkinson bowled after the ball rolled back onto his stumps and Peter Siddle paddled to short fine leg – either side of Ben Raine picking up his 19th first-class fifty in 95 balls.

It gave Hampshire a 71-run first-innings lead, having seen Liam Dawson and Organ bowl more overs than they ever had in an innings – 66 and 42.5 overs respectively – and were rewarded with five for 184 and four for 101. Dawson's were the third most ever in an innings by a Hampshire bowler.

With rain around and a stone-dead pitch, that felt like that, but Potts had other ideas.

The six-time capped Test fast bowler shook off his indifferent early season form to blast out Hampshire’s two openers.

Ali Orr, who had scored a splendid first-innings century – was undone by a ball in a testing area, with perhaps a little lift, to edge behind to Ollie Robinson in the third over.

Fletcha Middleton was unluckier as a good length delivery stayed low and slipped under his bat and into his stumps. Potts’ first five-over spell returned two for eight.

With Nick Gubbins absent following the birth of his daughter – Ottilie Mae Haigh – on Sunday and a skittish start that had seen the ball replaced after the very first delivery and then at the start of the fifth over, Hampshire suddenly appeared startled.

But Organ – jumping back up the order from No.8 to deputise for Gubbins – and captain Vince settled things back into the groove of the previous three days, albeit with zero intent to score runs.

Organ took 30 balls to get off the mark before tickling off his hips for a boundary, as both batters soaked up deliveries to kills as much time as possible. Organ would end up with 18 off 99 balls, and Vince 35 from 108.

Spinner Callum Parkinson remained unchanged from the Hotel End in the 37 overs bowled before bad light took the players off at 14:45 BST, which proved terminal and meant only 22 wickets had fallen in the match for fewer than 1,000 runs.

Day Three

David Bedingham cruised to his second Vitality County Championship century of the season to keep pace with Division One’s leading run scorers.

Durham batter Bedingham has 490 runs so far this season - sitting just behind Alex Davies, Joe Clarke and Daniel Bell-Drummond – and boasts an average of 81.66 after a serene 144 over Hampshire.

Liam Dawson got through the most overs he had bowled in an innings – 62 so far – and was rewarded with his 11th five-wicket haul.

Hampshire still lead by 93 runs, as Durham totted up 410 for eight in response to 503, and unless something remarkable happens this fixture is heading for a third successive Utilita Bowl draw.

Bedingham has passed 1,000 first-class runs in two of the three full seasons he has played for Durham – and you would fancy him beating those efforts of 1,029 in 2021 and 1,019 last year.

This was also his 14th century for Durham, across all formats, but with the placid nature of the pitch, this must rate as one of the easiest to reach.

The occasional “loose cobbles” – as Peter Siddle had described them – became rarer on day three for the spinners, while the fast bowlers were forced to toil away with straight fields to defend runs.

That isn’t to depreciate Bedingham’s efforts. He constantly felt on top and in a comfortable rhythm throughout his six-and-a-half-hour stay at the crease.

Bedingham forged partnerships with whoever fancied sticking around. Alex Lees had added 97 with him on day two. Nightwatcher Matthew Potts bit into an hour and a half of day three with 70 runs with Bedingham.

Potts, who scored an unbeaten 149 in a similar role earlier in the season, didn’t look out of place batting at No.5 and scoring 34 before he chipped Dawson to midwicket.

Ollie Robinson had his record of scoring a half-century in every innings this season ended two overs later when Dawson bowled him with a beauty that spun across the right-handed batter and kissed his off-stump.

But Graham Clark joined up with Bedingham to ease Durham away from any worries of failing to avoid the follow-on – becoming the first pair to a century stand, having seen seven fifty partnerships previously unconverted in the match.

Bedingham moved to a 193-ball century with a caress through the off side, before celebrating a few overs later with four consecutive boundaries off Kyle Abbott.

The only true negative of his innings was pushing Clark through for a single, only for James Fuller to hit directly from fine leg to end the 111-run stand.

Brydon Carse was dropped on 10 but caught at point on 18 to hand Dawson his fifth. It was the left-arm spinner’s sixth five-for since the start of last season, although by far the hardest he’d had to work.

Organ’s off-spin was also seen more than it had before - 40 overs - and he was recompensated by finally seeing off Bedingham, caught behind with a hint of spin.

Ben Raine and Callum Parkinson continued to close – with only 264 runs scored in a quiet day.

Day Two

Tom Prest flaunted his significant talent with his second Vitality County Championship hundred as Hampshire and Durham’s Division One clash turned into a run-fest.

The 21-year-old expertly scored 102, to dovetail with Ali Orr’s day one century and Ben Brown’s 75th first-class fifty, to help Hampshire to 503.

Alex Lees led Durham’s response on a Utilita Bowl pitch which has displayed heavy spin in patches but has mostly been fun in the sun to bat on.

The opener scored 71 before departing in the penultimate over of the day, having teamed up with David Bedingham to put on a match-high 97 for the third wicket. Durham ended the day on 146 for three, 357 in arrears.

Prest furthered his reputation of being Hampshire’s most exciting homegrown batter since James Vince while showing his complete range.

He had enthusiastically reached his half-century on the first evening but was forced to bedded in with Ben Brown, as the visitors bowled accurately during the morning. The pair eventually added 72 together.

Prest’s overnight partner Liam Dawson was leg before in the third over of the day – having survived a caught behind appeal from Ben Raine the delivery before.

The former England under 19 captain cemented his place in the Hampshire side after a century against Essex in the penultimate match of last season, before an 85 against Lancashire last month proved the ton was no fluke.

He never looked in any discomfort, not offering up a single chance as he strode his side to three batting points and a 161-ball century.

Prest guided to first slip two balls after reaching three figures to give Brydon Carse his first wicket of the season – having gone nought for 285 up until that point in 2024.

Brown, who passed fifty in 95 balls, and Felix Organ maintained Hampshire’s progress – with a clear intention to only have to bat once, especially with rain forecast on Monday.

They put on 60 before a flurry of wickets ended the innings. Brown lost control of the bat and splattered one-handed to midwicket, Organ was run out by James Fuller’s lazy running, Kyle Abbott was bowled by a Callum Parkinson ripper before Fuller – after some exciting shot-making – lost his off stump.

Parkinson ended with an expensive four-for, with debutant Peter Siddle pilfering three. Hampshire reached 500 at home for the first time since 2019.

Vince called for his spinners as soon as the eighth and ninth overs and was quickly rewarded with turn for Dawson and Organ – the former seeing two loud lbw appeals turned down in his first over.

Organ was the first to strike when Scott Borthwick brought tea by misreading a full straight delivery to be bowled, and end a pacy 45-run stand with Lees. And then Colin Ackermann was plumb in front to Dawson.

Lees batted himself out of danger of becoming a victim of the spin and variable bounce with a series of aggressive boundary shots.

But the spell of peril eased and Lees slipped back down the gears to reach 50 for the second time this year in exactly 100 balls, with Bedingham keeping him company.

He was adjudged leg-before to Dawson with the seventh from last ball of the day, with Hampshire the only side who could realistically win this game.

Day One

New boy Ali Orr began to fulfil the expectations placed on him with a smart maiden Hampshire century as he led a positive batting day for his side against Durham in the Vitality County Championship.

Opening batter Orr, who controversially moved from boyhood club Sussex in the winter, expertly amassed 126 for his first score for Hampshire. It was his first Championship hundred since September 2022 and his fifth all told.

Spinner Callum Parkinson was the pick of the Durham attack – taking three for 110 – but Tom Prest’s whirlwind 65 gave the day to the hosts, who ended on 336 for four.

Orr’s move to Hampshire from Sussex over the winter was said to have left shockwaves through county cricket.

He had become the latest high-profile player to leave Hove – after the likes of Luke Wells, Ben Brown and George Garton – and coincided with Chris Adams and Ian Gould leaving their posts on the cricket committee. It was said it was the latest illustration of the ‘big’ counties consuming the ‘smaller’ ones.

In eventuality, Hampshire have their best shot at ending their opening batting woes, while Sussex have barely felt the aftereffects of the departure. They are top of Division Two despite playing a game fewer than the three teams behind them.

It hadn’t been a smooth start to life at the western end of the A27 for Orr – unsurprising given the mixture of hype and anger that marked his transfer.

He ran out his opening partner Fletcha Middleton in their first innings together to start a scoring run of: 10, 13, 4, 26 and 6. This innings was exactly what had been promised when he signed.

He saw off the new ball with little worry, after his captain James Vince had chosen to bat, and showed a busyness to rotate the strike early on.

Hampshire were without the ill Mohammed Abbas – a blessing for Durham as he dispatched them for their two lowest first-class scores in one afternoon when playing for Leicestershire in 2018. Felix Organ was brought in as his replacement, on a pitch expected to turn.

Left-arm wrist spinner Callum Parkinson got the first look at those capabilities when he was tossed the ball in the 18th over. With his third ball he ripped one back almost 18cm with a googly to pin back Middleton’s middle stump.

The breaking of a 48-run opening stand did not spark a rush of spinning wickets.

Instead, Orr found his rhythm against the pace of Matt Potts and the wiliness of Peter Siddle as he reached his maiden Hampshire half-century in 94 balls.

Almost 60 per cent of his runs would come on the leg side, although that masked his true tactic; namely scamper singles off his legs and score his boundaries pleasingly around the ground.

He added another 86 with Nick Gubbins – who never found fluency in his 31 before he scooped Parkinson straight up to Ollie Robinson.

Orr got stuck on 90, for almost half an hour, with blocking and ball replacements stopping his route to three figures, but when it came – in 168 balls – he delivered a triumphant fist pump towards a cheering home balcony. It was his first century in his team’s first innings.

He departed with a tame plink to extra cover to give Siddle his first for his new county, before James Vince edged behind for a disjointed 41 to give Parkinson his third.

The quick-fire double didn’t put Prest off entering with gusto, sending four of his first 12 balls to the boundary before smashing his 13th for six. With Liam Dawson he upped the run-rate considerably, despite the second new ball, reaching his fifty in 62 balls during an 81-run unbroken partnership.

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