HAMPSHIRE beat Kent Spitfires by 163 in the Royal London Cup at Beckenham, after a sensational 181 by Tom Perst, writes Fred Atkins.
The 19-year-old skimmed Kent’s offense from all corners of the field in a run of 138 balls, including seven sixes. Perst put on a 207 position with Nick Gubbins, who himself hit 117 of 107 balls, as the visitors posted 396 for five of their 50 overs.
Hamid Qadri was Kent’s bowlers’ choice but even his two wickets cost 71 balls and the Spitfires went from 45 without a loss to 233 in a chase that looked doomed as soon as the wickets began to fall.
Jack Campbell had Hampshire’s best figures with four for 44, while Alex Blake was Kent’s top scorer with 62.
A healthy crowd of over around 1,800 saw the Hampshire openers go 49 unbeaten before Nathan Gilchrist beat Aneurin Donald for 21, but it was the hosts’ last success for over two hours, so that Gubbins and Perst were scorching bowling.
Gubbins cut Joey Evison for four to reach his 50th birthday, while Perst survived a first call for a hold after sweeping Qadri in the opposite direction and reached his half-century hitting George Linde for six on the corner of the cow.
Gubbins’ century came on a bruise for Kent all-rounder Joey Evison who went for 17. Perst took five of the first two balls and Gubbins hit 12 of the other four.
Perst eyed Gilchrist for two to reach triple figures but the position was finally broken when Hamid Qadri took two wickets in the 38th. Gubbins finally fell when he was caught by Gilchrist and the hosts’ hopes were fleetingly raised when Ben Brown was caught by underhand George Ealham for just two.
They soon dived again when Toby Albert joined Prest and made a quick 35 before he was below Navdeep Saini.
Perst led Quinn for four to pass 150 and finally perished in the 50th when he broke through at Gilchrist and was caught on the boundary by Ealham.
It said something about the way the innings had gone that the home fans were relieved that Hampshire hadn’t reached 400 and that Kent had made a pretty solid start to the chase, reaching 45 unbeaten before Ben Compton be caught by Fletcha Middleton off John Turner for 24 .
Campbell then quickly removed Tawanda Muyeye and Ollie Robinson. The latter made 40 before being caught and Robinson was caught by Scott Currie for 22.
Felix Organ had Joey Evison caught for one by Ian Holland and when Perst then had George Linde caught by Holland for three, Kent was 113 for five and the fans were already starting to leave.
They missed a few fireworks from Blake, but he quickly ran out of partners. Stewart provided brief entertainment with 15 before falling to a steeplechase hold by Donald off Organ.
Blake hit Perst for a longer six to reach 50 and held on after a strong call for an Organ hold, but then fell to a superb diving catch from Donald in the same over, the brilliance of which was almost matched by Albert when he sprinted to take Qadri out of Currie for seven years.
Campbell had Matt Quinn caught by Holland for eight and despite some late jabs from Gilchrist, who made his A-list high of 33, the rout was completed when he swept Campbell to Gubbins.
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