Briggs: We won’t lose focus

Danny Briggs, second from right, is congratulated by his Hampshire team-mates after removing Thilan Samaraweera Picture: Neil Marshall
Danny Briggs, second from right, is congratulated by his Hampshire team-mates after removing Thilan Samaraweera Picture: Neil Marshall
United Services vs Sarisbury II at United Services Cricket Ground, Burnaby Road

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Danny Briggs insists Hampshire will not lose their focus as they stayed on target for their first Championship success of the season.

The Ageas Bowl outfit have opponents Worcestershire right where they want them – still 141 runs behind in their second innings, having been invited to follow on after they were bowled out for 206 in reply to Hampshire’s 500 for nine declared.

But with only five wickets in hand as the visitors bid to save the game on the final day, Briggs (two for 13 and one for 33) knows victory is within reach.

He said: ‘We’ve got into a good position but now we need to finish it off and hammer it home.

‘We are showing a lot of patience and executing our skills.

‘We had a decent start to the morning, cleaned up the innings and took those four wickets quite quickly.

‘So it looked promising but we plugged away well for the rest of the day and got some rewards towards the end.

‘Hopefully we can push on and get the win.’

On a decent pitch, it has required some serious patience to take wickets.

Briggs removed Sri Lankan danger man Thilan Samaraweera in the second innings having helped polish off the Worcestershire tail in their first innings.

He said: ‘I was just trying to put the ball in the right spot as often as possible.

‘He (Samaraweera) set up wanting to play through the off side so he showed me more stumps than other people.

‘It just straightened a bit, hit him on the pad on the way through and went on to hit the stumps.

‘The main key is trying to bowl in that area as often as possible.

‘It’s nice to get Test players out and it gives you that confidence.

‘The whole game, the pitch has had something in it for the seamers and there is a bit of turn out there now and again. Hopefully, there will be a bit more on the last day.

‘The odd one is turning and Daws (Liam Dawson) got a couple to turn near the end.

‘There is a lot of rough around so it looks promising that way.

‘We’ve played really well for three days but we need to carry that on for the fourth day and make sure we get that win.’

The former Ventnor man knows that the key wicket on the final day will be Worcestershire skipper Daryl Mitchell (71 not out), who showed a lot of grit and determination to help his side reach stumps at 159 for five last night.

Former Hambledon wicketkeeper Michael Johnson, who saw his off stump sent cartwheeling by Sean Ervine in the first innings, will be alongside him as they try to save the game.

Briggs said: ‘He (Mitchell) has played nicely and patiently.

‘It’s hard work on the wicket when players are batting like that.

‘But if we stick in as we have, we should be alright.

‘There are always going to be partnerships and in the situation we’re in, we can’t be too greedy. We’ve got to be patient.

‘We’ve got time on our side and if stick to what we’ve been doing, we will get wickets that way.

‘When we got 500, we knew we could have two-and-a-half days in the field. That could still be the case.

‘But the bowlers are performing well as a unit and as long as we keep doing the right things, we’ll be fine.’