Cork: Tough ask for Hampshire to survive in division one

Hampshire skipper Dominic Cork & Co suffered a painful loss to Sussex

Hampshire skipper Dominic Cork & Co suffered a painful loss to Sussex

James Christian is back to boost Portsmouth. Picture: Neil Marshall

Bowling attack must step it up to lift Portsmouth

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Dominic Cork admits that Hampshire’s Championship division one status is hanging by a thread as he said: It’s a tall order to stay up now.

The Hampshire skipper saw his winless side crash to a five-wicket defeat at Sussex yesterday.

It was the club’s fifth defeat in eight matches this term.

And they remain rock bottom of the table, 49 points from safety at the halfway stage of the season.

With eight games remaining, Cork’s men will probably need to win at least four to have any hope of remaining in the top flight.

And while the former England star is confident that the team can turn it around, things are starting to look decidedly bleak.

Cork said: ‘All I know is that we need to win a lot of games.

‘It would be great for me to say we will win them all but I’m realistic enough to know that we haven’t played well enough in Championship cricket to win every single game left.

‘We’ve just got to win enough to come third from bottom to stay in the first division.

‘It’s going to be a tall order for us but I still back everybody in the club and the players in the side that we can do it.’

While there are undoubtedly several reasons behind their poor form in the four-day game, Cork believes it is down to a few simple factors.

But he raised questions over the team’s ability to perform under a longer test in the four-day version of the game.

He said: ‘As a side all season, we haven’t done the basics right in the Championship.

‘We haven’t scored enough runs and we haven’t bowled teams out well enough.

‘This game was a prime example.

‘We’ve had the opportunities throughout the season to be in a better position than we are.

‘That’s not down to anybody else – it’s down to ourselves.

‘We have to put it right.

‘We will work harder and harder and harder to be ready for a big match against Nottinghamshire next time.

‘People are under more pressure in a four-day game and at the moment, we’re not coping with the pressure well enough.

‘We have to get better with that and get through the tough times.’

After the latest disappointment, Hampshire switch back to the Friends Life t20 tonight as they host Middlesex with the Royals’ place in the last eight already assured.

Cork said: ‘We want to carry on the run in the t20 and we will be raring to go.

‘The home quarter-final is booked.

‘But we want to carry on sending out that statement to the other sides that we will not be taking things lightly.’

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