Dropped catches prove costly for Northants as Gubbins and Vince hit tons at County Ground

Nick Gubbins and James Vince shared a record third wicket partnership for Hampshire against Northamptonshire as they made the hosts pay for a series of dropped catches on the opening day of this LV= Insurance County Championship clash at Wantage Road.
Gareth Berg fails to hold on to this chance to catch Hampshire's Felix Horgan at the County GroundGareth Berg fails to hold on to this chance to catch Hampshire's Felix Horgan at the County Ground
Gareth Berg fails to hold on to this chance to catch Hampshire's Felix Horgan at the County Ground

The pair put on 198 runs with Gubbins, out shortly before the close, making an excellent 125 off 249 deliveries with 15 boundaries, while Vince finished the day unbeaten on 104, Hampshire closing on 287 for four. In the process they broke the previous Hampshire record set by Phil Mead and Jack Newman at Southampton in 1927.

Gubbins flew almost under the radar at first with the focus on four dropped catches at the other end, but he batted with calm assurance from the get-go, playing fluently all around the wicket, stroking the ball across the field rather than taking the aerial route.

His century comes just a week after his 84 against Surrey, the kind of form that had pundits tipping him for England honours a few years ago.

Hampshire's Nick Gubbins celebrates after scoring his century against NorthantsHampshire's Nick Gubbins celebrates after scoring his century against Northants
Hampshire's Nick Gubbins celebrates after scoring his century against Northants

Vince profited after being put down by Ben Sanderson at fine leg on 25 and took the more aggressive route of the pair.

If less fluent than his partner, he played positively for his ton, reaching three figures with a late cut to the boundary ropes.

Northants’ hopes were raised early on when seamer Jack White struck in the second over of the day, but from then on, the home attack were made to toil largely in vain with three dropped catches off the unfortunate White.

They maintained a disciplined line but runs looked increasingly easy to come by as the day wore on. The late wicket of Gubbins was just reward for White who was the pick of the bowlers.

Jack White celebrates claiming the early wicket of Hampshire opener Fletcha MiddletonJack White celebrates claiming the early wicket of Hampshire opener Fletcha Middleton
Jack White celebrates claiming the early wicket of Hampshire opener Fletcha Middleton

White had seemed to justify skipper Luke Procter’s decision to put Hampshire into bat on a sunny but windy morning when he enticed the edge from Fletcha Middleton who drove at one outside off-stump and was well caught at slip by Gareth Berg.

It was to prove a rare moment of luck for Berg in the cordon.

Felx Organ, who lived a charmed life against White, offered a series of edges which kept the slips interested.

The big fast bowler was denied though when Berg shelled three chances at third slip with Organ on 15, 20 and 22 respectively.

First Berg dived to his right but could only get his fingertips to the ball. The next chance flew between second and third slip before Organ nicked one at a comfortable catching height only for Berg to put it down.

The mistake did not prove too costly as Berg atoned for his earlier misses with ball in hand when he had Organ caught behind for 38.

Gubbins opted to keep things simple at the other end. He played a sweetly timed drive down the ground off Berg for four before playing the same bowler through the covers for another boundary.

He was fluent on the legside too, whipping White behind square to take Hampshire into three figures, before dispatching Sanderson in similar fashion to bring up his half-century off 114 balls.

Meanwhile Vince twice clipped White through the legside to the ropes before he too was the lucky beneficiary of Northamptonshire’s jitters.

He attempted to hook a well-directed short ball from Chris Tremain only to pick out Sanderson, the man placed for the shot at fine leg, who put down a simple chance.

Vince played the shot more convincingly against Luke Procter dissecting the field and picking up four runs before cutting Berg for another boundary.

A flat-footed heave for four through the vacant second slip position took him to the verge of his first half-century of the summer.

Vince began the evening session positively taking two boundaries off the first over bowled by Sanderson, punching through the covers and playing through midwicket as Hampshire passed 200 in the 69th over.

On 69 Vince survived a confident shout for leg before wicket from Rob Keogh, before sweeping the spinner behind square for four off the next delivery.

Gubbins reached his fourth century since joining Hampshire from Middlesex two years ago before he fell to a stunning diving catch at first slip by Ricardo Vasconcelos.

With light fading, James Fuller came in as nightwatchman and proceeded to play his shots, smiting Sanderson into the Turner Stand for six before the Northamptonshire seamer clean bowled him for 16.

With bad light calling an early halt to proceedings, Vince finished the day on 104 not out from 183 balls with 13 boundaries.