Hampshire 254 (Brown 95, Lawes 4-58) & 198/5 (Gubbins 79*) lead Surrey 270 (Pope 91, Abbas 6-64) by 182 runs
Nick Gubbins is not exactly the luckiest of cricketers.
Just take his first innings dismissal on day one at The Oval, for instance.
The batter defended a delivery from Kemar Roach, only for backspin to bounce the ball towards the base of the stumps, dislodging the bails.
This theme of bad luck seems to be common throughout the 29-year-old’s career, with injuries always seeming to come at the wrong time.
How superstitious would it be to suggest his rotten luck has something to do with the numbers on his back? Not quite 13, but if you switch them around, you get 31, and what number has Gubbins chosen to wear on his shirt…?
Or take the fact that he is left-handed, associated in the Middle Ages with the devil, and considered worldwide to be a sign of bad luck.
His left-handedness could have been the reason he was not selected for England’s tour of Bangladesh and India in 2016/17, despite ending the season with over 1400 runs at an average of 61 as Middlesex ended the campaign as champions.
Parting from the absurd, there is actual, valid, real-life evidence to justify these claims of Gubbins’ unluckiness.
On 6th August 2017, when playing for Middlesex, Nasser Hussain wrote an article for the Daily Mail suggesting that Gubbins should come into the Test side for an out-of-form Keaton Jennings in preparation for a tour down under later that year.
Just two days later, whilst fielding for his county in a first-class game against Warwickshire, Gubbins went down with a hamstring injury, ruining any chance of a potential Test debut.
2018 brought similar issues when once again he was touted for an England call-up only for a grade two hamstring strain picked up whilst fielding in an ECB North vs South match to scupper his preparations, setting him off on a wretched run of form.
A move to Hampshire midway through 2021 offered pastures new, with twin centuries against a Lancashire bowling attack containing Jimmy Anderson demonstrating his class.
He entered the fray on day three of Hampshire’s match against Surrey in a precarious situation but did not fall foul of any bad luck despite Surrey’s title-winning bowling attack charging in at full force.
He got off the mark with a clip off the legs which earned him four, before producing a textbook cover drive to mark his first two scoring shots with boundaries.
A punch through mid-off in Tom Lawes’ first over had nothing to do with luck, as did a perfectly timed clip through the covers that enticed Rory Burns in a chase all the way to the boundary.
A well-timed pull shot immediately after a short leg was put in place raced to the boundary to take him into the seventies, as he combined with Ian Holland to take Hampshire’s lead to 182 at the close of play.
Mohammad Abbas was once again the star with the ball for Hampshire, adding another six wickets to his total for the season. His victims included Ollie Pope, who fell agonisingly close of a well-deserved century as he chopped on an inviting delivery from Abbas. The England international’s frustrations were evident.
A quick-fire unbeaten half-century from Sean Abbott saw Surrey take a first innings lead of 16, with their bowlers starting brightly. Daniel Worrell sent Fletcha Middleton’s off-stump cartwheeling, as Felix Organ and James Vince gave the home side’s slip cordon catching practice without massively troubling the scorers.
Liam Dawson was once again bowled by Lawes, before Ben Brown came to the crease, steadying the ship as Hampshire’s lead passed 100.
Gubbins’ brought up a watchful half-century from 132 balls, his second this season after an unbeaten 54 in Hampshire’s successful chase against Nottinghamshire secured an opening game victory.
If I were Nick Gubbins, I would stay away from any mirrors tonight, just to be sure.