County level with Hampshire at top after visitors play out draw

Ledbury Reporter: County level with Hampshire at top after visitors play out draw County level with Hampshire at top after visitors play out draw

WORCESTERSHIRE moved back level on points with Hampshire at the top of LV= County Championship Division Two despite the New Road clash with their nearest rivals ending in a draw.

Michael Carberry’s fifth championship 100 against the County ensured Hampshire avoided defeat after they had followed on 183 runs behind.

But Worcestershire wiped out the four-point lead previously held by their opponents going into the game.

They collected 12 points to Hampshire’s eight and bagged a maximum haul of bowling bonuses for the eighth successive match in addition to four for batting.

Director of cricket Steve Rhodes’ side are also top of the North Group in the Natwest T20 Blast ahead of Friday’s trip to Derbyshire Falcons (7pm).

Paceman Charlie Morris was Worcestershire’s most successful bowler on the final day with three wickets but Carberry’s century after being dropped by England led determined Hampshire resistance.

Hampshire resumed on 31-1 but in effect they were two wickets down as spinner and overnight nightwatchman Danny Briggs had returned south for the impending birth of his first child.

Morris entered the attack at 66-1 and immediately made a breakthrough when Will Smith (11) shouldered arms and was bowled.

James Vince looked in good nick but after making 16 he became the second victim of the morning for Morris.

The Hampshire vice-captain drove at Morris and was trapped lbw to leave Hampshire on 88-3.

Carberry reached his half-century off 106 balls with 10 fours out of 111-3. Hampshire resumed after lunch on 147-3 and Carberry and Glenn Maxwell scored freely.

Maxwell’s 50 came off 44 balls with eight fours and a six as Hampshire ensured Worcestershire would have to bat again in the 55th over.

A two off Shaaiq Choudhry took Carberry to his 100 from 192 deliveries with 17 boundaries and a six.

Morris (3-57 off 24 overs) continued to plug away and was rewarded when Maxwell (85) was trapped lbw to end an important stand of 149 in 33 overs.

Carberry’s fine knock finally ended shortly before tea – 125 from 249 balls with one six and 21 fours – when he was adjudged lbw to Joe Leach (1-31 off 10 overs).

Hampshire were then on 272-5 – a lead of 89 – and in the final session Sean Ervine and Michael Bates steered their side to safety on 321-5.

They had successfully fended off Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal, who could only follow up his 7-63 in the first innings with 1-114 from 31 overs in the second.

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