Depleted Bears can’t stop Tom Alsop
Tom Alsop’s second first-class century lifted Hampshire to a solid 291 for six on the opening day of their County Championship match against Warwickshire at Edgbaston.
Hampshire were looking for leaders in their batting, having lost Aiden Markram and James Vince to international duty and seen India batsman Ajinkya Rahane’s debut delayed due to a BCCI player engagement. Alsop, 23, rose to the challenge in polished fashion.
After Hampshire chose to bat, he compiled a career-best unbeaten 131 (273 balls, 21 fours) to steer his side away from uncertain positions at 44 for two and 171 for five.
A depleted Warwickshire attack missing the injured Olly Stone, Liam Norwell and Ryan Sidebottom and the unavailable Chris Woakes, persevered well, led by the excellent Olly Hannon-Dalby (four for 58).
But Hampshire got away from them in the final session when Alsop was joined by the aggressive Aneurin Donald (75, 56 balls, 12 fours, two sixes).
Hampshire had lost their openers in the first 16 overs. Joe Weatherley fell lbw to Hannon-Dalby in an excellent opening spell of 7-4-4-1 by the seamer and Oliver Soames tickled a leg-side delivery from Jeetan Patel to wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose.
As Hannon-Dalby and Patel applied pressure, Alsop and Sam Northeast knuckled down to add 73 in 27 overs either side of lunch before the latter (22, 73 balls) played across a Hannon-Dalby in-ducker and was lbw.
When Rilee Rossouw skied Patel to Craig Miles at mid-off, Hampshire were wobbling at 122 for four. Liam Dawson was immediately fortunate to survive a run out appeal from Miles’ direct hit, but survive he did to add 49 with Alsop before lifting Hannon-Dalby to Rob Yates at point.
At 171 for five, the day was in the balance but former Glamorgan player Donald yanked it Hampshire’s way with a vivid counter-attack. He struck ten fours on his way to a 41-ball fifty and 75 out of a partnership of 84 with Alsop before slashing Hannon-Dalby to gully.
Hannon-Dalby was denied a richly-deserved five-for when Alsop, on 105, was dropped by Dominic Sibley at extra cover. Gareth Berg was also reprieved, on two, when Henry Brookes grassed a caught-and-bowled chance and, let off the hook somewhat, Hampshire will aim to crack on past 400 on the second day.
That would pile pressure on a Warwickshire top order missing the injured Sam Hain and Ian Bell and including 19-year-old Rob Yates on his first-class debut, and Adam Hose, back after a month out with a broken thumb.