Holland has Worcestershire’s top order speaking double Dutch


Hampshire 236 (leaching 3-41) beat Worcestershire 192 (Barnard 85*, Holland 3-17, Currie 3-36) with 44 runs

Ian Holland tore through Worcestershire Rapids’ top order as Hampshire kicked off their Royal London Cup campaign with a 44-run victory.

Australian-born US international Holland took 3 for 17 and left Rapids 37 for 5 after Hampshire scored 236 thanks to 40s from Ben Brown, Fletcha Middleton and Scott Currie.

A list of Worcestershire A record sixth wicket partnership between Ed Barnard, who is tied to Warwickshire – who finished with a brave unbeaten 85 – and Taylor Corall helped the hosts recover, but Felix Organ and Currie, who took 3 for 36, made the stares up front from a healthy 3,100 crowd at the Ageas Bowl to outplay Worcestershire with five overs to spare.

If Hampshire’s 51 to 3 start was bad, the Rapids were; was catastrophic. Holland bulldozed the highest order with his nagging line and length: he had Ed Pollock plod to deep square to his first ball before Gareth Roderick tried to carve a ball that bounced a little extra to the edge to slip and Jake Libby pushed towards the same fielder in front . Holland’s first seven-over spell yielded 3 for 11 and involved two girls.

Currie had pinned Pakistan international Azhar Ali in the third crossover and John Turner went on the attack to get Kashif Ali to push towards Perst as well, leaving his side 37 for 5. with an effortless accumulation of runs.

Their 130-run tie set a new Worcestershire record on List A cricket, beating the 121 between Phil Neale and Steve Rhodes in 1988. To underline his importance to their middle class, Barnard was involved in the record-breaking fifth, sixth and seventh wicket – his fifth format fifty comes in 72 balls.

Felix Organ eventually broke off the partnership after nearly 30 overs when Corall went on too long, holding Leach up front in his next over. Nineteen-year-old debutant Henry Cullen skied straight up into the air, Adam Finch swung to the deep square, and Ben Gibbon was the first ball to end the game.

Previously, Hampshire’s top order stalled and a partnership could not be built on a field that bounced quite a bit. Leach, Gibbon and Barnard all took a wicket to keep the hosts slogging away – Nick Gubbins chipped halfway through, Aneurin Donald bowled and Perst chopped off.

Brown and Middleton started their recovery cautiously, with the pair scoring just eight limits in their 85-point stand. Middleton – whose father Tony made his List A debut against Worcestershire in 1989 – dominated the midwicket region, whether on the front foot to pull or clip his legs, while Brown dabbed and pushed to restart the innings to calibrate.

Both seemed headed for half a century, but both were painfully left behind at the milestone. Middleton tickled behind at 49 before Brown chased a shot to point. Orgel survived a caught and bowled but not a clip too long and Holland chip to midwicket, but Currie came in to swat it, on a 54 point tie with Toby Albert.

The all-rounder boosted the death overs with seven crushing fours to fail to deliver a professional career high 43 and take Hampshire to a par 236 – with Albert, Jack Campbell and Turner all leaving late.