Coach enjoys late bonus

James Tomlinson and David Balcombe impressed. Picture: Neil Marshall
James Tomlinson and David Balcombe impressed. Picture: Neil Marshall
James Vince. Picture: Sarah Standing (170455-8793)

Vince relishing ‘second chance’

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Dale Benkenstein paid tribute to his bonus boys as the tail wagged to get Hampshire out of jail.

David Balcombe (38 not out) and James Tomlinson (33 not out) shared a 69-run unbroken partnership for the final wicket as Hampshire turned a bad day into a good one, reaching stumps at 251 for nine on day one of their Championship division two contest with Gloucestershire.

Their crucial partnership took Hampshire from a precarious position of 182 for nine and beyond what the first-team coach deemed was a par score on another green wicket at the Ageas Bowl.

Benkenstein was keen to keep a lid on becoming too jubilant.

But he clearly feels his side have edged their noses in front with their late fightback after a tough day.

He said: ‘The partnership between Balcs and Tommo was a real bonus for us, but they can all bat.

‘They have shown in the past that every one of them all the way down the order can bat.

‘That is a strength that they have shown this time.

‘To finish the day like that is really positive and there was some good fight shown by the guys.

‘We’ve shown that pretty much all season.

‘I would have said if we had bowled first, to keep them at around 200 would have been a good first day for us.

‘At one stage, they were probably ahead of that and now we are edging into a score that is above par on that wicket on day one.

‘But there is still plenty of work to do in this game and it could prove to be a very important partnership.’

Having been well beaten in their t20 clash with Somerset just 24 hours earlier, Benkenstein revealed he feared there might be a hangover.

He said: ‘I’ve seen it happen after t20 games in the past.

‘It is really hard for batters to switch from one form to the other, especially overnight.

‘I was concerned about the batting.

‘Going from the t20 game to a wicket that we wanted to have some life in it, it would have been ideal if we had bowled.

‘But we showed some good resolve up front. We could have been 20 for four but batted really well, it was a good comeback from them but we showed good fight towards the end.

‘Losing wickets like that would be expected a little bit.

‘To be honest, I was quite amazed with how well we started.

‘I thought it would be really tough up front with a new ball on a fresh wicket.

‘There was some good stuff up front, nothing much in the middle and a really good fightback towards the end.’

While Balcombe and Tomlinson both enjoyed some fortune, Benkenstein felt it was no more than they deserved as a team.

He said: ‘I thought we had a little bit of bad luck along the way – the catch that got Sean Ervine was freakish.

‘So we were due a little bit of good luck and a few inside edges went our way.

‘I suppose, it would have been nicer if the partnership was between batters number four and five, rather than right at the end.

‘But we will take it. At this time of the season, that’s the way it goes sometimes.

‘There is a bit of mental fatigue that creeps in and you will see some interesting cricket.’