Hampshire Seniors have fallen at the semi-final hurdle of the ECB 50-plus County Championship for a third successive year.

And for the second time running they lost to Essex, who beat them by seven wickets at Brentwood.

Hampshire’s top order batsmen have not been in any sort of form all summer and once again their vulnerability came to a head as they were struggling at 81-5 (Andrew O’Kelly 20) at drinks.

Pete Doust (37), John Robinson (20), Kevin Poulter (19) and Neil Taylor did their best to haul Hampshire towards a competitive total, but a modest 158 was never likely to be enough.

Despite Hook & Newnham Basics left-armer Kevin Poulter taking 2-19, Essex – who included former county players Chris Gladwin and Keith Pont – polished off the target with six overs left.

Ex-Hampshire cricketer Mel Hussein hit an unbeaten 63 as Essex clinched a 50’s cup final date with Durham next month.

Hampshire Over-60s completed the double over Worcestershire to clinch a last 16 place in the Seevent Sixties Cup.

Hampshire, drawn at home to Essex, won the home match against Worcestershire by 46 runs, Jim Smallbone taking 5-26, and by 73 runs in the return, Hursley Park’s Peter Green making 71.