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The Electronic Telegraph Essex v Hampshire, National League First Division
Charles Randall - 18 July 1999

Essex hit rock bottom

Hants (259-5) bt Essex (120) by 139 runs

Essex, with England captain Nasser Hussain in charge, sank to the bottom of the CGU League Division One table yesterday, swapping places with Hampshire, the easy winners at Southchurch Park.

This relegation contest became so one-sided that a large seaside crowd sank back into a stupor in the sweltering sun when Hampshire reduced Essex to one run for three wickets in the first 10 balls of their reply and cruised to their first league win since April.

Essex's upper order were buried by Nixon McLean and the outstanding Peter Hartley while Hampshire's challenging total was achieved through Jason Laney's first league hundred.

Laney provided the backbone of the innings while Derek Kenway, with 46 runs off 51 balls, and Giles White, hitting 47 off 42 deliveries, gave the ball some biffs into the wide open spaces of this big field.

Laney's effort was efficient rather than spectacular. His 106 came rapidly off 135 balls, but contained only 10 boundaries, which reflected deft placing and an ability to rotate the strike.

Stuart Law, Graham Gooch's Australian successor and nearest equivalent, was powerless to halt Essex's collapse before he fell to Hartley, and Stuart Renshaw gathered in four cheap wickets.

It was a bad day for Tim Phillips, a Felsted schoolboy, to make his Essex debut. A left-arm spinner, he claimed Robin Smith as his first victim, but proved expensive.

Essex lost their first wicket third ball when Nick Peters dollied a lifter from McLean to gully. Hussain went in the next over and Ronnie Irani was yorked first ball. Match over, very embarrassing.

Source: The Electronic Telegraph
Editorial comments can be sent to The Electronic Telegraph at et@telegraph.co.uk