The England County Season is nearing the end but that has not stopped the league from creating plenty of records. In the game between Somerset and Hampshire at the Aeges Bowl in Southampton, Kyle Abbott, the former South Africa pacer created a unique slice of history as Hampshire dented Somerset's title prospects in the first division of the England County season.
On a seaming wicket, Hampshire were tottering at 88/7 but Liam Dawson shared a 92-run stand for the eighth wicket with Keith Barker to stage a revival. Dawson smashed a century and Hampshire were bowled out for 196. In Somerset's innings, Abbott began with a bang as he trapped India cricketer Murali Vijay for 0 and he proceeded to rip through the entire batting line-up. Abbott ended with staggering figures of 9/40 in 18.4 overs and he was denied a chance of a perfect 10 when Fidel Edwards got rid of Tom Banton.
Armed with a lead of 54, James Vince led from the front with a magnificent 142 as Hampshire ended on 226 and Somerset was given a target of 281. In the second innings, Steve Davies and Murali Vijay shared a 86-run stand as they looked to cause an upset. However, Abbott returned for his second spell and in a devastating display of bowling, he picked up six wickets in six overs. Dawson picked up two wickets but Abbott was once again the star as he ended with figures of 17/86 in 36.4 overs to give Hampshire a crushing 136-run win.
Abbott's figures are the best-ever by a Hampshire bowler in the history of the England County circuit. The best figures in the history of First Class cricket is held by Jim Laker, who took 19/90 in the Manchester Test in 1956. In that match, Laker took the game's first perfect 10 as he took all 10 wickets in the second innings. In the first innings, he was denied a chance to take 10 wickets as Jim Burke was dismissed by Tony Lock.
The final round of the County Games will take place from September 23 to September 26. With Somerset's loss, Essex are firmly in pole position to retain their title. Essex are on top with 220 points followed by Somerset who are second with 208 points. The title clash will boil down to the last day with Somerset squaring off against Essex in Taunton while Hampshire take on Kent. Essex will retain the County title if they avoid defeat against Somerset while Somerset will have to win and bowl Essex out for a paltry score.