Sam Northeast’s match-winning century started and ended to mild, but universal, applause. The least you might expect on reaching three figures but, for the former Kent captain (105 not out from 95 balls), not necessarily a given; in last year’s final at Lord’s Northeast walked out to a sea of boos from the Kent travelling support.
Hampshire lost on Duckworth-Lewis, Glamorgan were washed out and Gareth Batty scrambled some lower order runs to see his team to victory. This is not a premonition of what awaits us on Wednesday, when the Royal London One-Day Cup gets underway, but the last time white-ball cricket featured so early in an English summer. A summer, as it happens, in which early-season domestic cricket was there to “fill the void” as the country awaited an Ashes bout which ended in perhaps the most glorious denouement to befall English cricket. The precedent bodes well.
Lancashire (267-4) lead Middlesex (265) by 2 runs
If Keaton Jennings was the question at the start of play, Haseeb Hameed, by its close, was the answer. Once a vulnerable target for the shorter ball, now it was his forte, as the Lancashire opener reached his century with a neatly pulled six off the back foot.
• Hampshire 330-7; Kent 269. Hampshire win by 61 runs
• Sam Billings scores 75 off 60 but four run-outs cost Kent
Forty years of hurt, and Kent will still be dreaming. While England’s footballers look to rectify 52 years without a trophy, Kent’s last one-day triumph was in 1978 and the wait continues. A Rilee Rossouw century, four run-outs and an unbeaten 75 by their former captain Sam Northeast denied Kent a title once more, with Hampshire ultimately easing to a 61-run victory.
• First Lord’s final between the sides since 1992
• James Vince and Heino Kuhn have been prolific run-scorers
The human interest stories for Saturday’s Royal London One-Day Cup final are varied and many. Kent’s 42-year-old Darren Stevens will be negotiating the Lord’s slope in what is his 21st year of first-class cricket. The former Kent captain Sam Northeast, a Hampshire winter signing, will be going up against his restless successor Sam Billings, who, in a quiet season, has a point to prove.
Sky Sport Cricket: Royal London One-Day Cup 2018
Semi-Final: Hampshire v Yorkshire
18 June 2018
The Rose Bowl, Southampton
BBC County Cricket commentary
Royal London One-Day Cup
Middlesex v Hampshire
7 June 2016