Essex suffer at hands of Balcombe
23:01 04 September 2012
LV= County Championship Division Two (day 1): Hampshire v Essex
Pace bowler David Balcombe took his LV= County Championship wicket haul for the season to 52 with four more against Essex to keep alive Hampshire’s promotion ambitions.
On a green wicket at the Ageas Bowl, Balcombe took four for 57 as Essex were bowled out for 180 after losing the toss.
Hampshire responded with 165 for four by the close of the first day, trailing by 15 and happy to have made the best use of conditions which always favoured Balcombe and the other Hampshire seam bowlers.
It proved to be a good toss for Hampshire captain Jimmy Adams to win, with the top six Essex batsmen out to slip catches and three more snared by wicketkeeper Michael Bates.
Essex were in trouble from the start with Balcombe dismissing openers Tom Westley and Jaik Mickleburgh to catches at first and second slip in his first spell.
When left-arm seamer James Tomlinson had Owais Shah held at third slip by James Vince, Essex were 25 for three and there was no way back.
Ryan ten Doeschate followed at 47 and captain James Foster fell to another Vince catch at the third slip from the last ball before lunch.
Balcombe’s fourth wicket, at 112, saw Adam Wheater caught behind and only then was there any concerted resistance.
Mark Pettini was joined by Graham Napier in a stand of 54 for the seventh wicket before both departed at the same score, 166, Pettini to a smart catch by Liam Dawson at first slip while Napier edged behind.
Pettini was the only Essex batsman to delay Hampshire’s march to maximum bowling bonus points with a brave innings of 58 from 154 balls, which included nine fours.
Essex were all out in the 53rd over when Sean Ervine bowled Tom Craddock. David Griffiths supported Balcombe with three for 40 while Ervine took two for 19 from 11 overs.
Despite the fall of Adams in the seventh over, Hampshire found batting far easier with Michael Carberry, a candidate to replace the retiring Andrew Strauss in the England side, making a rapid 42.
Maurice Chambers, who had taken the wicket of Adams, also took Carberry’s at 61 but Simon Katich and, late in the day, Bilal Shafayat took Hampshire to within striking distance of the Essex total.
Shafayat hit Napier for six to go in at stumps with 42 not out and Vince was unbeaten with 22 as Essex paid dearly for having to bat first in bowler-friendly conditions.