HAMPSHIRE will miss out on the Royal London One-Day Cup quarter-finals after a thrilling five-run defeat by Essex at Chelmsford.
Half-centuries from Jess Ryder, Tom Westley and Ravi Bopara had laid the foundation for Essex’s imposing total of 324 all out – but at one stage it did not look enough as Adam Wheater showed his liking for the home attack.
He struck a brilliant 135 runs from only 97 deliveries, which followed the century he scored against his former colleagues when the sides met in the LV County Championship at Colchester last month.
When Wheater was out, caught at mid-off by Graham Napier off Ryan ten Doeschate, his side needed just 55 runs from 10 overs, with six wickets intact.
His main accomplice was James Vince, the pair sharing in a partnership of 198 in 28 overs, a county record for any partnership against Essex in List A matches. They would have expected that stand to have carried their side to victory.
Vince made 79 from 83 deliveries, 26 of his runs coming in boundaries, before he fell to a superb catch by Tim Phillips at long-on – providing David Masters with one of his three wickets.
But Essex made things difficult for themselves by spurning opportunities to remove both batsmen.
Wheater, on 73, was let off as James Foster missed a comparatively easy stumping off Phillips with the total on 175, while Vince was put down by Kishen Velani on the square leg boundary in the next over when attacking ten Doeschate.
The pair had come together after Masters had removed openers Jimmy Adams and Miichael Carberry in the space of three deliveries with the total on 48 in the ninth over.
After Wheater’s dismissal, the Hampshire innings disintegrated and they fell behind the asking rate in the face of some fine ground fielding and tight bowling.
They lost five more wickets while adding 43 runs, including that of Chris Wood – who was run out by ten Doeschate off the penultimate ball.
James Tomlinson arrived with six needed to tie the match but he could only manage a single, ending any hopes Hampshire entertained by that stage, and bringing the final score to 319-9.
Masters finished with three for 51 and Napier two for 58, the Essex attack having been handicapped earlier by Tymal Mills leaving the field with a muscle injury during his third over.
The result means Essex progress, but, following two washed out matches, ends Hampshire’s hopes of reaching the quarter-finals.