Hampshire 290 (Vince 75, Berg 75*, Leach 4-42) and 244 (Abbott 51, Leach 3-55) beat Worcestershire 211 (Cox 65, Barnard 40) and 127 ( Head 45*, Abbott 4-45, Edwards 3-33) by 196 runs
Fidel Edwards crushed the Worcestershire batting line-up as Hampshire skittled their newly promoted rivals out for 127 to win the opening Specsavers County Championship fixture of the season by 196 runs.
West Indian fast bowler Edwards was handed his county cap before the start of play before taking 3 for 33, including two wickets in two balls, in a whirlwind morning spell.
Gareth Berg, Brad Wheal, Liam Dawson and Kyle Abbott – the latter returning 4 for 45 – also took a wicket each on the final morning to send Hampshire to the top of the Division One table.
Joe Leach, Worcestershire’s captain insisted that despite the heavy defeat Worcestershire had proved that they deserved to be in Division One company.
“We have competed in a lot of the game and been on top in certain periods,” he said. “Ultimately it wasn’t good enough but we live and learn. I have said to this group – and this might seem a bizarre thing to say after a loss [by this margin] – but this game reaffirmed to me that we deserve to be here and mix it in this division with these types of teams.”
The day had begun with Hampshire needing seven wickets and Worcestershire requiring 264 runs.
The visitors, who had lost three wickets all to Abbott on the previous day, had what they would have thought was a trump card at the crease in Daryl Mitchell.
Mitchell boasted an average just under 70 against Hampshire, including a double century, and had batted serenely on day three to reach 34.
At the other end Josh Tongue had been dispatched as a nightwatchman for the second time in the match, and while he had done his job in the day three gloom, he lasted just three overs in the morning. Gareth Berg set a trap with a catching fielder at midwicket, and bowled a straight delivery which Tongue clipped straight to Brad Wheal. Mitchell only managed a single before he departed, pinned on the crease by Abbott.
George Rhodes’ innings typified the tricky conditions by taking 35 balls to get off the mark. Scoring a run proved Rhodes’ demise though, as he then edged Edwards to Hashim Amla at first slip.
Ben Cox was the next to depart when Brad Wheal slammed into his off stump to send it cartwheeling.
Edwards cleaned up the tail when he had Ed Barnard on the pads in front before find the edge of Worcestershire captain Joe Leach’s bat next ball.
Australian overseas Travis Head, who blocked out the hat-trick ball at the start of the next over, provided the only real barrier to a Hampshire rout with a well-made 45. But Hampshire completed their win when Steve Magoffin poked Dawson to James Vince at short midwicket.