Hampshire in charge
Jimmy Adams and Nic Pothas were both out in the nineties, but Hampshire claimed four precious points against Worcestershire at New Road in their battle to avoid relegation in the LV= County Championship.
Their fourth-wicket partnership of 161 from 38 overs created a strong platform before Hampshire lost three wickets in 16 balls and then recovered again to close with a competitive total of 357 for eight.
Occasional spinner Moeen Ali made a breakthrough when Adams was leg-before for 91, playing back to a quicker ball, and Jack Shantry, a Minor Counties seamer from Shropshire, had Pothas caught at cover for 93.
After taking only one wicket in 26 previous overs this summer, Moeen bagged two in a day with the help of a rash shot by Dimitri Mascarenhas when he bowled the Hampshire captain in a spell of 9-4-27-2.
The twists and turns continued with a lively 28 by Imran Tahir until he was caught at second slip off Matt Mason and a disciplined 28 not out by Dominic Cork.
Although Worcestershire have long been doomed to a return to Division Two, Hampshire are battling with at least three other counties to avoid the second relegation spot.
With their last two matches against champions-elect Durham and fellow strugglers Yorkshire, they really need to exploit Worcestershire’s troubles by completing a season’s double over a team who have not won in the championship for a year.
In recent weeks Worcestershire have had mixed results when putting opponents into bat on grassy pitches and the latest gamble by Vikram Solanki seemed to be paying off in a tricky morning for Hampshire’s top order.
Initially held up in an opening partnership of 50, the seamers began to make progress when Liam Dawson, after edging more than one of his six fours, was caught behind for 37 off the fast-improving Richard Jones.
A good low catch by Ben Smith at first slip gave left-armer Shantry the wicket of Michael Lumb and Chris Whelan, after missing four matches with a side strain, ended a high-risk innings by James Vince.
The England Under-19 batsman was nearly caught at mid-on in getting off the mark and edged over wicketkeeper Steven Davies before narrowly clearing Shantry for a six over long leg.
After facing 12 balls for 16, his luck then ran out when he offered a catch to Davies.
Davies completed another dismissal after lunch when Jones beat Sean Ervine with late movement, but Adams gave Hampshire an anchor-point in a watchful innings spanning more than four-and-a-half hours.
While the patient left hander hit 15 fours from 197 balls, Pothas was more positive, facing only 62 deliveries to reach fifty, and in all he found the boundary 19 times.