100′s for Craig and Roelof in draw

Craig Overton 100

Hampshire held on for a draw in the Specsavers County Championship game against Somerset at the Cooper Associates County Ground thanks to a spot of good fortune and a stand of 159 between Sean Ervine and Jimmy Adams.

Needing 249 in their second innings to avoid an innings defeat, the visitors finished the day on 254 for 5.

However, they had to ride their luck on several occasions over the course of the final day, with Ervine, who helped himself to a century, dropped three times during an innings that in the end was the difference.

The day began with Craig Overton surviving a near run out, when on 99, to celebrate his maiden first-class hundred off 123 balls, with 10 fours.

Overton, who with Roelof van der Merwe broke the county’s record eighth wicket partnership in the Championship which had stood since 1983 when Ian Botham and Viv Richards put on 172 against Leicestershire at Grace Road, batted with typical aggression to reach 138.

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When the young Devonian finally departed, caught on the mid wicket boundary by Adams off the bowling of Mason Crane, Somerset captain Chris Rogers declared.  Van der Merwe, who passed three figures off 137 balls, with seven fours and two sixes, was left unbeaten on 102.

Overton’s early morning runs meant Hampshire required 249 in their second innings to make Somerset bat again.  When opener Will Smith departed for 0, lbw to Jack Leach, that initial target looked a long way off.

Ervine and Adams joined forces and managed to steer Hampshire to lunch, albeit somewhat fortuitously.  Ervine went on to reach three figures off 148 balls before finally departing for 106 at 165 for 2.  Adams, who was understandably watchful on a wicket that continued to turn, posted his half century off 169 balls with six fours.

However, after tea and with the game seemingly drifting, Hampshire suffered a double blow when James Vince (13) and Adam Wheater (0) were dismissed by van der Merwe in the same over.  Sensing their chance, Somerset pushed on in pursuit of the wicket of Adams which finally fell, at 251 for 5, caught by Marcus Trescothick off the bowling of Leach, who now has 45 first-class wickets this season.

Somerset made one final push, but Hampshire held their nerve and when the sides shook hands Hampshire were 254 for 5.

After the match Somerset captain Chris Rogers said: “I think we played pretty well throughout the game.  I certainly can’t fault the guys in any way.  The pitch didn’t offer the kind of bounce that we thought it might on the final day but we stuck at it.  There were some half chances, but they were tough ones and we are certainly not blaming anyone.  Also, how many times did we beat the bat?”