Hampshire will be looking to maintain their excellent record against Worcestershire when the two sides meet in a vital Division One clash at New Road, starting on Monday.
The Ageas Bowl outfit have lost just one of their last 12 County Championship matches against the Pears, and they’ll need to maintain that positive trend as they look to get out of relegation trouble at the wrong end of the upper echelon.
Hampshire go into this game rooted to the basement, five points behind this week’s opponents, with Worcestershire sharing the reputation of a yo-yo club in county cricket’s first-class tournament after both Clubs joined from Division Two last season.
There is, of course, plenty of cricket to be played this season, but a defeat for either county in this clash could prove costly come September, with third-bottom Nottinghamshire 13 and 18 points clear of Worcestershire and Hampshire respectively ahead of their own game against Middlesex.
You have to go as far back as the start of May for Worcestershire’s only victory this term, with Somerset defeated by an innings at New Road in an emphatic three-day victory. Daryl Mitchell’s side could, and maybe should, have gained a second win the last time these two sides played each other last month, but the intervention of rain forced a draw despite the Worcestershire skipper’s century in the first innings at the Ageas Bowl.
Hampshire themselves can boast just one LVCC victory – against Sussex in June – and were on the wrong end of a rampant Middlesex in their last outing, going down by nine wickets at Lord’s.
Could Charlie Morris be set for a birthday to remember? The fast bowler celebrates his 23rd birthday on day one, and will be looking to cap it with a fine performance with the ball. Morris took the second five-wicket haul of his career, and first on home soil, in Worcestershire’s victory against Somerset in May, and could be key in securing the Pears’ stay in the division.
Opener Jimmy Adams boasts an impressive record against Worcestershire, averaging 53.81 for Hampshire in first-class matches against them. The 34-year-old, in his fourteenth season of first-class cricket, has had a rather lean season by his standards thus far, yet to make a century in nine matches in the year.
Worcestershire have named a 13-man squad for Hampshire’s visit, with Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes choosing the same XI that lost to Nottinghamshire last time out, as well as Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Brett D’Oliveira. Alex Gidman is passed fit after suffering from concussion during that game at Trent Bridge, while Kohler-Cadmore could be rewarded for an excellent performance for the Second XI, where he made 153 against Yorkshire.
Worcestershire squad: Daryl Mitchell (c), Saeed Ajmal, Ed Barnard, Ben Cox (wk), Joe Clarke, Brett D’Oliveira, Tom Fell, Alex Gidman, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Joe Leach, Charlie Morris, Richard Oliver, Jack Shantry
Hampshire have been forced into a squad change from their last outing, with Liam Dawson going to Essex on loan. James Tomlinson and Brad Taylor join the XI who suffered defeat at Lord’s last week.
Hampshire squad: Jimmy Adams (c), Gareth Berg, Jackson Bird, Danny Briggs, Michael Carberry, Joe Gatting, Will Smith, Brad Taylor, Sean Terry, James Tomlinson, James Vince, Brad Wheal, Adam Wheater (wk)
Weather and conditions
Rain could all but end prospects of play on day one, but no further showers are forecast for the rest of the game. Cloud remains, however, a welcome feature for the bowlers after recent sunshine.
Date: 6th – 9th July 2015
Ground: New Road, Worcester
Umpires: Neil Bainton & Graham Lloyd
Odds (via SkyBet): Worcestershire 5/6, Hampshire 5/6