Rains and Hampshire’s resistance prevent a young Somerset team from winning decisively on the last day.
Nick Gubbins turned in a four-hour defensive masterclass to earn Hampshire a backs-to-the-wall draw
Somerset 500 (Rew 221, Aldridge 88, Bess 54, Abbott 4-56, Dawson 4-118) and Hampshire 330 (Organ 97, Abbott 89, Bashir 3-88) and 215 for 7 (Dawson 68, Gubbins 50, Bashir 3-67) drew. On the last day of Hampshire’s LV= Insurance County Championship match against Somerset at Taunton, Nick Gubbins turned in a four-hour defensive masterclass to earn Hampshire a backs-to-the-wall draw. Before Gubbins (50 not out) and Liam Dawson (68 not off) completed a match-saving stand of precisely 100 on either side of tea, the visitors had slid to 115 for 7 from an overnight 34 for 2, needing 55 more runs to avoid an innings defeat. Gubbins’ protracted vigil used two hundred forty-one balls, while Dawson hit 14 fours and a six. Together, they dismantled a domestic bowling lineup headed by 19-year-old offspinner Shoaib Bashir, who finished with 3 for 67 from 37 overs. Three adolescents made up Somerset’s young team, which was only able to earn 12 points from a game they completely controlled. Felix Organ, the first inning’s hero who drove at a ball from left-arm seamer Alfie Ogborne and edged to Tom Lammonby at third slip, quickly left Hampshire, who needed 136 to escape an innings defeat.
The scoreboard read 45 for 3 when a rainstorm arrived at 11.20 pm despite no rain predicted. Before the game resumed at midday, nine overs were lost. When Fletcha Middleton reached 29 from 80 balls, he appeared relatively unscathed. However, Bashir bowled him, trying to play off the back foot through the on side, and he left the game with the total at 58. Bashir was looking incredibly well for a guy making just his third Championship appearance, and even without an additional run, he significantly boosted Somerset’s chances of winning. The visiting captain, James Vince, waited to bat at No. 6 and only lasted four balls before flicking a catch to Kasey Aldridge, who was cleverly placed at leg slip. By the time lunch was served a few minutes early after a second rain, Ben Brown had countered with three fours and had increased his lead to 14. Hampshire was behind by 92 runs at the break, and Bashir had stats of 3 for 17 from 12.4 overs.
Before the 1.45 pm resumption, three more overs were lost. As soon as Bashir finished his 13th after the break, Brown welcomed the restart with a cover drive for four, and it became evident that Gubbins was preparing to play the anchor position. In 97 balls, the sixth-wicket pair amassed a fifty-wicket stand, thwarting the efforts of spinners Bashir and Dom Bess and prompting Somerset captain Tom Abell to summon seamer Aldridge to his attack. Brown got a touch on a full delivery, and wicketkeeper James Rew dived to his left to take a two-handed grab down the leg side. When James Fuller was out for a duck three balls later due to Aldridge’s inside edge to Rew, Hampshire was suddenly 115 for 7, still 55 runs short of forcing their opponents to bat again. Dawson started the game nicely by scoring on consecutive Bess balls. With five fielders gathered around the bat, Bashir was now bowling, but Gubbins provided strong opposition. By the time tea was served, he had fought hard for 157 balls to score his 31 runs, cutting the gap to 35 with Hampshire 135 for 7. Following the break, when the two took a position past 50, Dawson was the aggressor. Before receiving the second new ball at 167 for 7, Somerset tried the sporadic spin of first Tom Lammonby and then Andy Umeed for an over each without result.
Gubbins and Dawson still had work to do when Bashir received it. The narrowest of leads was gained by his side thanks to a Gubbins boundary through the off side. With clear skies above the Cooper Associates County Ground, Jack Brooks took the new ball at the other end. In the same Bashir over, Dawson successfully fended off two assured calls for tight catches, prompting Somerset fielders to put their heads in their hands. Left-hander Gubbins positioned himself up to receive most of his deliveries to prevent the offspinner from taking advantage of the rough outside of right-hander Dawson’s off stump. Hampshire had a 17-run lead when the last hour and 16 overs were signaled. Dawson reached a crucial half-century off 115 balls with his eleventh four, smashed through the leg side off Bess. Gubbins continued to the same point after 237 deliveries, and Somerset realized their day was ruined. At 5.35 pm, the players shook hands.
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