Hampshire dominate opening day of the county season. 5th April
5th April 2019
Hampshire 303-4 Essex
Day One Specsavers County Championship Division One
Peter Moore at the Ageas Bowl
Half centuries from debutant Aiden Markam, Rilee Rossouw and Sam Northeast enabled Hampshire to close the opening day of the season in a strong position.
On the first day of the County Championship season, players and fans were greeted by non-spring like conditions- more like autumn- with a dark overcast day and a very cold wind to contend with.
Due to bad light, play was delayed with a 11.20 start. With an uncontested toss, Hampshire batted first. The Essex attack had to wait until almost an hour for their first breakthrough of the day and it came from Matt Quinn who had Joe Weatherley(13) caught at third slip. South African Aiden Markram on debut joined James Vince- who is opening for Hampshire in championship cricket this season. The pair added 31, before Vince(40) fell on the stroke of lunch, trapped lbw by Bopara as the hosts finished the opening session on 71-2.
Essex toiled away in the afternoon session on an easy paced wicket, as Markram and Sam Northeast put on 75 for the third wicket. The South African looked in good early season form and brought up his half century with a lovely straight drive off Sam Cook. He added a further 13 runs before he edged a lifting delivery behind to Dan Lawrence- keeping wicket in place of Adam Wheater, who went off injured earlier with a damage finger- for 63 to give Quinn his second wicket of the day. Hampshire seized on some loose Essex bowling as Rilee Rossouw and Northeast took the score at tea to 215 for 3 with Northeast one away from a half-century and Rossouw 45*.
Rossouw reached his half-century by depositing a six over Simon Harmer’s head. His 50 coming of just 47 balls for the home side. Two balls later Rossouw picked up another maximum with a six over deep square leg. Northeast, was the more circumspect of the pair, but eventually reached his 50 which came off 95 balls as the home side began to dominate and the runs began to flow in the final session of the day.
Rossouw’s fine knock of 76 off 66 balls including 10 fours and four six’s was eventually ended when he tried one big shot to many and holed out at deep square leg of Jamie Porter. The partnership of 117 for the fourth wicket had already put Hampshire on course for a very good first innings total.
With 21 overs remaining at 5.30 the light failed to improve, and the umpires had no option but to call play off for the day with Hampshire on 303 for 4, with Northeast six short of a century.