Dale Benkenstein was left to rue a costly late lapse from his batsmen as Hampshire failed to make the most of their promising position.
The first-team coach saw his side go from 88 without loss to 119 for four on day one of their Championship clash against Worcestershire – another side which is expected to be in the battle to avoid relegation this season.
But Benkenstein believes his players are not helping themselves with periods of play that have blighted the early season fortunes.
Benkenstein said: ‘We had a fairly good couple of hours and did really well.
‘If we had won the toss, we would have had a bowl as well.
‘With it only being 50 overs, it’s a nice time to have a bowl because you know that even if it’s not going that well, it’s only 50 overs.
‘But I thought our guys did really well against the new ball but we just have the same sort of problem every game where no-one really takes the game by the scruff of the neck.
‘I don’t think it’s easy, though, and the wicket is giving some assistance to the seamers.
‘But we are not helping ourselves.
‘They bowled well and didn’t give us too much.
‘We should be good enough to get through with maybe one wicket down but not four down.
‘They weren’t too threatening at times but we didn’t even reach three runs per over so we had to work hard for those runs. That is credit to them for that.
‘That is first-class cricket. You have to battle and they are crucial times at the end of a day’s play.
‘Last year, we were a lot better at that than we are this year and we can’t seem to get it right.’
Perhaps most frustrating is that batsmen who appear to be set to go on and make a big score continue to get themselves out from good positions and Benkenstein admits he has spoken Liam Dawson about his frustrating habit.
Benkenstein said: ‘It’s tough because he (Dawson) is doing the hardest work of facing the new ball on a fresh pitch.
‘He is doing that very well and it’s probably a concentration thing.
‘We’ve got to keep persisting with it and I do think he is playing very well.
‘But when you get to 30s and 40s and you don’t convert, the low scores are always just round the corner. He is aware of it and we are trying to find a way of getting him through it.’
Hampshire still have plenty of batting to come and Benkenstein has tasked his side with going beyond 300.
He said: ‘We need two guys to get in and establish themselves and take the game away from the opposition.
‘I still think there are quite a few runs in there.
‘Anything over 300 would be what I would expect. Anything under that, we would probably be a little short.’