MANY great bowlers have played for Hampshire over the years.

Derek Shackleton, Shane Warne, Malcolm Marshall, Andy Roberts... the list goes on.

But none achieved what Kyle Abbott managed yesterday as he became the first Hampshire bowler to take 17 wickets in a match - with the best first-class figures anywhere since Jim Laker’s iconic 19-90 for England against Australia at Old Trafford during the 1956 Ashes series.

The South African followed his 9-40 in the first innings against Somerset with 8-46 in the second innings as Hampshire secured victory against Somerset at The Ageas Bowl by 136 runs.

Until yesterday, the best figures by a Hampshire bowler were Jack Newman’s 16-88 against Somerset at Weston-super-Mare in 1927.

“It hasn’t quite sunk in,” said Abbott after becoming the first player to take 17 wickets in a County Championship match for 80 years. “It is pretty incredible. I didn’t think I’d take nine [in the first innings] and didn’t think I’d take eight today.

“I reckon that is the best I can bowl. Everything I wanted to do worked. It just happened to be one of those days – it was incredible.

“When it started to reverse [swing] it got quite fun. We knew we had to get into their middle order and put pressure on them as 280 was a long way off.”
Somerset, who needed 281 to win, were skittled for 144 - having lost their first seven wickets for 14 runs in 60 balls.

Somerset’s third loss of the season means they will likely need to beat their title rivals Essex at Taunton next week if they are to win the Championship for the first time.

Hampshire, on the other hand, took 19 points from the match and lead the charge in the battle with Yorkshire and Kent for third place.

Abbott had started the day with his pads on as he continued his lengthy ninth-wicket partnership with century-maker James Vince.

The pair helped Hampshire add 50 morning runs to take their partnership to 119 before Vince edged behind for a wonderful 142, a 63 per cent share of his team’s runs, and Abbott drilled to mid-off.

Somerset openers Murali Vijay and Steve Davies responded by putting on 62 runs in 16 overs before lunch.

But Abbott  took 6-19 in an afternoon spell as spellbinding and devilish as he produced in the first innings.

Indian opener Vijay became Abbott’s tenth victim when he pulled straight to mid-on. Tom Abell edged a subtle in-ducker before Liam Dawson bowled James Hildreth with one which turned and stayed low.

Abbott had an lbw appeal against Tom Banton turned down before readjusting slightly to pin his man next ball.

He was on a hat-trick when Bartlett followed the same way. The hat-trick ball was fended off but Davies, who had scored fifty in 86 balls, soon nicked behind.

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Dom Bess was also lbw to leave Somerset 100-7,still 181 away from victory.

After a 40-run partnership with Lewis Gregory, Abbott returned and had Overton caught at second slip by Dawson.

Roelof Van Der Merwe swiped Dawson to point, where Abbott took the catch.

Then Abbott took his 17th wicket by ripping out Josh Davey’s off stump to secure the record and the win in style. 

He smiled: “Would I prefer to finish third or spoil Somerset’s party? I wanted to spoil the party by a long way. They celebrated against us at the Royal London One-Day Cup final so we wanted to give them some hard work for next week against Essex. Once I hit my length at my optimum speed it started to click – I had that every over in this game.”