Hampshire v Essex: David Balcombe impresses for hosts
|County Championship Division Two, Southampton|
|Close, day one: Essex 180, Hampshire 165-4|
|Hampshire 3pts, Essex 1pt|
David Balcombe helped bowl promotion-hopefuls Hampshire into a strong position on the first day of their game against Essex at Southampton.
Balcombe took 4-57 and David Griffiths chipped in with 3-40 as Essex were reduced to 180 all out, despite 58 from Mark Pettini and 26 from Graham Napier.
Hampshire, fourth in Division Two, reached 165-4 in reply at stumps.
Bilal Shafayat is unbeaten on 42 and Michael Carberry made the same score, while Maurice Chambers took 2-46.
Essex, who still have a slim chance of gaining promotion themselves, made a terrible start as Tom Westley, Jaik Mickleburgh, Owais Shah and Ryan ten Doeschate were all dismissed early on with the visitors reduced to 47-4.
Pettini and Napier helped them stabilise, although the pair then fell inside three balls as Essex lost their last four wickets for 14 runs and failed to collect any batting bonus points.
Hampshire will resume on Wednesday 15 runs behind with six first-innings wickets remaining.
VIEWS FROM THE COMMENTARY BOX
BBC Essex's Nick Gledhill:
"Hampshire closed on 165 for 4, just 15 behind Essex who, put in on a green pitch, had relied on Mark Pettini's 58 as David Balcombe made best use of the conditions with 4 for 57.
"Though the pitch eased during the afternoon Hampshire still had to contend with cloud cover which gave the Essex bowlers encouraragement.
"Michael Carberry looked good in making 42 and Bilal Shafayat will resume on the same score.
"Hampshire will want a lead of over 100 because Essex should find batting easier in their second innings."