Miserable Hampshire chase allows Glamorgan a record win in Vitality Blast opener

Glamorgan 168/6 (David Lloyd 38*, Colin Ingram 35, Liam Dawson 2/25) beat Hampshire 105 (Andrew Salter 3/34, Ingram 2/15, Graham Wagg 2/17) by 63 runs.

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One could forgive a Hampshire supporter for hauling a cool bag of above-moderate expectations out to The Ageas Bowl for Friday night’s sun-kissed Vitality Blast opener. Craig White’s side comes with a strong pedigree in the short format, after all – being attendees at Finals Day for seven of the the past eight summers and twice champions, anchored by an incessant core of strong internationals, and fresh off sealing a dominant victory in the game’s other limited overs format at Lord’s just six days prior, it’d be rude not to have faith for their homecoming.

Freshly imported to bolster a top order that already ranks amongst the circuit’s strongest, 86-cap New Zealander Colin Munro made inroads towards an under-par Glamorgan target of 168 by dispatching Andrew Salter for a deep boundary with the first ball of the innings. Such audacity was immediately stemmed, however, as Chris Cooke took a sharp catch behind before Lord’s hero Rilee Rossouw misjudged a sweep to leave the score at 9/2 six balls in. That became 15/4 three overs later as Timm van der Gugten caught both a stunning return grab off England misfit James Vince (2) and a flimsy prod from former Kent talisman Sam Northeast (3) off the miserly Michael Hogan, hopes of anything respectable lay firmly on the shoulders of Tom Alsop, who struck a bold 64 in similar circumstances last summer against Sussex.

Instead, all he could muster was a lethargic pull on 12 to become Salter’s third victim, and Graham Wagg’s brace of Lewis McManus (0) and Liam Dawson (2) to similar shots into Salter’s hands the next over sparked hunts for the record books. From a platform of 32/7, only superfluous counterattack from tail-end duo Gareth Berg (26) and Kyle Abbott (a career-best 29) kept Hampshire from limboing beneath their decade-old previous lowest of 85, and by the time they closed their tallies the formidable ground appeared yet more cavernous. Around 7,500 spectators appeared, and all many had to sing about was how football may well be coming home. Continue reading “Miserable Hampshire chase allows Glamorgan a record win in Vitality Blast opener”

Soundtrack to a Twenty20: Every song played at a county cricket match

I spent a drizzly evening on Shazam so you don’t have to

Thursday’s report from the Telegraph on the topic of a city-based Twenty20 league coming as soon as 2018 confirmed the inevitable: a tournament to ape the flashy leagues of almost every other test-playing nation, particularly India and Australia, is incoming whether the existing county community likes it or not. How such a tournament would magically revive the fortunes of the domestic game remains to be seen, but its impending arrival is sure to fuel the growth of ‘cricketainment,’ that ugliest of portmanteaus.

For stubborn purists, there’s a fair bit of a professional Twenty20 experience to despise, yet perhaps the most consistently irritating, regardless of location, is the soundtrack. On any given evening, county grounds are filled with a jumbled mix of records picked, presumably by an ECB-guided hand, to inject energy into crowds, celebrate rare moments of cricketing magic like boundaries being hit and overs ending, and usually just annoy people who’ve actually turned out to watch some cricket.

To illustrate the absurdity of the situation, I travelled to the 1st Central County Ground in Hove last night to see Sussex host Glamorgan in the final NatWest T20 Blast game of the season. Though the match, which was meant to begin at 6:30, ended up overrun by rain, the four hours of music that accompanied it may have been the most frustrating element of it all. Continue reading “Soundtrack to a Twenty20: Every song played at a county cricket match”