Hampshire show class on day one
DAY ONE | Hampshire CCC 431 for four
SCORECARD | Available HERE
REPORT | James Vince and Tom Alsop show their class as they earn day one centuries to gain the early momentum for Hampshire in the first round of the 2021 LV= County Championship.
Vince's and Alsop's centuries were also accompanied by a Liam Dawson half-century during a difficult day with the ball in hand for Leicestershire.
The first day of the 2021 season got underway at the Uptonsteel County Ground with a slight bite in the Leicestershire air.
The first toss of the year went the way of the visitors as Hampshire skipper James Vince, accompanied by Running Foxes skipper Colin Ackermann donning has brand-new green blazer for the first time, opted to bat with a view to conditions improving throughout the day.
Cricket, though, could not proceed before the traditional ringing of the bell signalling the beginning of play. This year had a different feel to it, as Head Coach Paul Nixon rang the bell in memory of Phil Wright, a crucial member of the Foxes family who was sadly lost last year – a presence that is missed daily at the Uptonsteel County Ground.
Chris Wright opened the bowling for County with Joe Weatherley and Ian Holland opening the batting for the visitors.
Weatherley and Holland made a quick start off the bowling of Wright and Alex Evans posting 20 runs in the first five overs, though, the Leicestershire duo fought back to decrease the run-rate in the following 10 overs.
More importantly, the opening bowling pair made a crucial breakthrough within the first hour of the day as Wright claimed the first wicket of the season, for the second time in three seasons since joining the Running Foxes.
It was a delicious piece of bowling which enticed Holland into playing and consequently nicking one through to Harry Swindells who gathered low, diving to his right. Holland exited the pitch with 11 to his name and was replaced by Tom Alsop. Hampshire were 37 for one.
Alsop came in and partnered Weatherley well as the opener was looking in good touch in the early stages.
The Running Foxes began to leak runs and the bowling change to get Ben Mike involved worked well as he came in and kept it tight whilst also working the batsmen.
The other bowling change, Gavin Griffiths, paid dividends as he claimed the wicket of Weatherley just before he managed to earn his first half-century of the year.
Griffiths rocketed one into the batsman who could only top edge it high into the Leicestershire sky – Harry Swindells did well to both keep his eye on it and cover the ground to reach and take the catch.
Weatherley exited for 41 as Sam Northeast replaced him in the middle with the visitors on 75 for two.
Lunch then came without Leicestershire worrying the third wicket partnership with Hampshire sitting on 109 for two, Alsop on 40 and Northeast on 15.
The Running Foxes emerged for the second session of the day needing to break the partnership of Alsop and Northeast who had already put on a stand of 44 leading into lunch.
It took until the sixth over the afternoon session for Leicestershire, and Chris Wright, to find that breakthrough after the seamer managed to get one to nip back into Northeast and pin him infront for 19. Hampshire’s skipper then made his way out to the crease to join Alsop who had recently earned his half-century from 69 balls.
The Running Foxes attack then struggled to inflict any pressure on the partnership of Alsop and Vince as the latter showed his talent with the bat by firing himself to an explosive 81 ball century within the session.
However, Vince didn’t earn all of the plaudits as his teammate at the crease also fired himself to a first century of the season, coming from 153 balls, albeit surviving a run-out call following a good piece of fielding from Lewis Hill.
Tea then came with Hampshire having well and truly grabbed the impetus in the first innings having only lost one wicket in a session where they put on 183 runs.
The final session got underway with the temperature dropping at the Uptonsteel County Ground as the Running Foxes continued to search for the fourth Hampshire wicket.
The 80-over mark was upon us meaning the Leicestershire had the chance to take the new ball, in which they opted to do so, and with it, came the fourth wicket.
It took just three deliveries with the new ball to break the 224-run fourth wicket partnership, as Alsop looped an Evans delivery up to Mike who was stood at point, who easily took the catch. Alsop departed on 119 with Hampshire on 351 for four.
His captain, though, continued on his charge to 150 which he brought up in 140 balls now accompanied by Liam Dawson.
The Running Foxes were hoping a quick wicket to follow, which would consequently earn their second bowling point of the fixture, however, Vince and Dawson had other ideas.
The duo saw out the remaining 16 overs the day, with Dawson joining his skipper on a half-century coming from 58 balls with an over in the day to spare.
The day was then up following Griffiths' final over the day with the visitors ending day one in a commanding position on 431 for four.
FIGURES (1st inns) | Wright 20-3-79-2, Evans 20-1-74-1, Griffiths 16-2-74-1, Mike 15-1-82-0, Parkinson 20-3-85-0, Ackermann 5-0-18-0
TEAM | Hassan Azad, Sam Evans, Harry Dearden, Colin Ackermann (C), Lewis Hill, Harry Swindells (wk), Ben Mike, Callum Parkinson, Chris Wright, Gavin Griffiths, Alex Evans.
HAMPSHIRE CCC | Joe Weatherley, Ian Holland, Tom Alsop, Sam Northeast, James Vince (C), Liam Dawson, Lewis McManus (wk), Kyle Abbott, Mason Crane, Brad Wheal, Mohammad Abbas.
IMAGES | Thanks to John Mallett of Outside Off for providing the images throughout the game.
MATCH SPONSOR | Thanks to Uptonsteel for being our match sponsor.