SURREY V HAMPSHIRE - Specsavers County Championship - 7 September 2016
Surrey 329. Hampshire 213-3.

It is too early to tell whether this match will yield the victory Hampshire badly need as they battle to retain their first division status in the Specsavers County Championship but it has already produced a landmark moment for one of the county's players.

Tom Alsop, a 20-year-old left-hander, scored his maiden first-class century as Hampshire closed on 213-3, 116 behind Surrey's first innings 329 with two of the four days played. Alsop looked thrilled and relieved after reaching his ton when a square cut squirmed away from backward point's grasp for two, and well he might. As the hundred loomed and the shadows lengthened at the Kia Oval he had become increasingly nervous and might thrice have been dismissed.

It was a curious innings from the England under-19 batsman. He sped serenely to 55 off 60 balls but was then becalmed for 40 deliveries as Surrey gave him less width. He began scoring again but was dropped in the slips off Stuart Meaker by Steven Davis on 72; dropped again at cover by Sam Curran on 92 - a much harder chance following a miscued drive at Gareth Batty; then, on the same score, almost run out by a piece of smart fielding by Dominic Sibley.

Having finally attained three figures, from 169 balls with 17 fours, he relaxed and was still there, on 117 at the close. Alsop was given good support by Will Smith, who battled through a demanding opening spell from Tom Curran that claimed Jimmy Adams, but was then dismissed for 49, and Sean Ervine (30 not out).

While Surrey's bowlers had to toil in the afternoon sun Hampshire's had earlier had overcast conditions to work with. They took the final four Surrey wickets for 63 runs but with Ben Foakes, 47 overnight, quickly bowled by Ryan McClaren after adding just a single they will feel their efforts were only par for the conditions. Dropping Tom Curran (17) twice in the slips did not help (Smith and Adams the culprits), but the main obstacle was Batty who scored a breezy 41 not out before running out of partners. Brad Wheal finished with 4-100.

This is Hampshire's penultimate championship match and they began it still 14 points adrift of safety, a position currently held by Durham who are up against it at Headingley but have a game in hand. Victory is thus imperative, but whatever happens in the long-term Alsop's first century, nearly two years after his first-class debut, could prove of great benefit to him and the county.

Hampshire batsman Tom Alsop, who scored his maiden first-class century at the Kia Oval against Surrey, said: "It is what dreams are made of really. I got my first one-day hundred earlier this season but I wanted to get a Championship one. There are only a few games left and I began to think I wasn't going to get one this season. It has been hard getting the first one, not so much a question of technique or anything like that - I have got few 50s so I thought 'I can play'- but everyone says the first one is the hardest and I guess it is."

Of his three 'lives' Alsop., who was unbeaten on 117 at the close, said: "Thankfully today was my day, The second chance, of Gareth Batty, I was ready to walk off, but maybe the sun was in his eyes or something..."

Alsop dedicated his century to team-mate Michael Carberry, who was diagnosed earlier this summer with a cancerous tumour. "He has helped me a lot," said Alsop, "we're good friends off the field as well, to see what has gone through is tough. I'd like to say thanks to him, and tell him everyone is with him."


Tom Alsop underlined his promise with a smoothly-compiled 58-ball half-century as Hampshire made a confident start in pursuit of a first innings lead on the second day at the Kia Oval. The 20-year-old left-hander reached tea in the Specsavers County Championship division one match 55 not out. He was given solid support by opener Will Smith (40 not out) who survived a testing opening spell from Tom Curran that accounted for Jimmy Adams.

Having gone to lunch with a serene boundary Adams went scoreless for 18 balls after the break before chasing a widish delivery to be caught behind. However, Smith and Alsop then added 83 as Hampshire reached tea 106-1, 223 behind.

Earlier skipper Gareth Batty scored a brisk 41 to steer Surrey, who had resumed at 260-6, to 329 all out. Coming in when Ben Foakes was dismissed having added just one to his overnight 47 Batty remained unbeaten while Brad Wheal finished with 4-100.


Hampshire were frustrated in their quest to quickly wrap up Surrey's first innings on the second morning of their Specsavers County Championship first division match at the Kia Oval. Despite dismissing Ben Foakes (48) with only six runs added to the overnight 260-6 the visitors were unable to winkle out the tail until the lunchtime soup was being warmed.

Under overcast skies Surrey captain Gareth Batty provided the stiffest resistance, making an unbeaten run-a-ball 41 to lift his team to 329 all out. Brad Wheal was the pick of the Hampshire bowlers, taking 4-100 but both he and Ryan McClaren were frustrated at having Tom Curran dropped in the slips. Jimmy Adams missed the all-rounder at second slip on eight, Will Smith at third on 14. Finally he was taken down the legside for 17 by wicketkeeper Lewis McManus.

With the sun emerging Smith and Adams comfortably negotiated what could have been a testing four overs before lunch reaching 12-0.