HAMPSHIRE’s chances of reaching Lord’s as well as Finals Day were reduced by a third defeat in four One-Day Cup games last night.
Niall O’Brien stunned Hampshire with an unbeaten, 72-ball 105 as Leicestershire chased down a revised target of 186 in 25 overs with four balls to spare under the Ageas Bowl floodlights.
Sean Terry, in his first game of the season, hit a career-best 63 as Hampshire recovered from a mid-innings collapse after winning the toss to post 275-9 from 50 overs.
But a downpour during the interval gave Leicestershire a revised Duckworth-Lewis total to chase that O’Brien reached, together with his second century in three one-day games at The Ageas Bowl, with his SEVENTH six.
O’Brien, a wicketkeeper-batsman linked with Hampshire before Adam Wheater’s arrival 18 months ago, was unstoppable.
Tomlinson missed a difficult chance when the Irishman was on 32 but that was the only chance he gave.
He thumped two sixes in three balls against Coles before reaching a 37-ball fifty with another maximum over long-on against Liam Dawson.
After losing Greg Smith, brilliantly caught by a diving Coles at mid-on, and captain Matthew Boyce he swept the third of his three sixes against Will Smith’s off-spin to bring the target down to 34 from five overs.
Chris Wood began an excellent 22nd over by removing Dan Redfern, who sliced to point, as the target became 24 from 18 balls, then 19 off 12.
But with ten needed off the last over, O’Brien paddled the first ball for four before lifting a Tomlinson full toss over the short leg-side boundary.
Needing to finish in the top four of Group A to reach the last eight, this defeat leaves Hampshire with two must-win home games, against Northants tomorrow night and Worcestershire on Monday.
But they were happy with their total on a spin-friendly wicket after winning the toss.
Eight days after taking a Test catch as England’s 12th man, Sean Terry made a career-best 63 in his first game of the season.
Batting at No. 7, his 57-ball 63 helped Hampshire recover from a mid-innings slump.
Terry came in at 139-5, after the rest of the top order had failed to capitalise on an opening partnership of 88, between Jimmy Adams (24) and Michael Carberry
, during the powerplay overs.
Carberry blitzed a 50-ball 61 (seven fours, three sixes), including 22 from five Nathan Buck deliveries.
But then Hampshire lost six of their first seven wickets to spin.
Redfern (2-43) accounted for the openers, while fellow off-spinner Jigar Naik’s only wicket provoked a display of dissent from Wheater.
There were no complaints from Dawson (2), Smith (40) and Coles (1), who all found fielders as slow left-armer James Sykes claimed a career-best 3-34.
Seven wickets had fallen in 22 overs, for the addition of 83 runs, when Terry put on 70 in the next ten with Wood (27 from 30 balls).
He batted with the sort of composure his dad was known for and ended a 115-ball boundary drought when he cover-drove Sykes for the first of his five fours.
Terry passed his previous career-best one-day score of 33 with the first of his two sixes, swept over the big mid-wicket boundary against Naik, before reaching a 48-ball fifty by driving his second maximum, over long-off against the same bowler.
But it was not quite enough as Leicestershire made up for their seven-wicket Duckworth-Lewis defeat at Gloucestershire the night before.