Dominic Cork believes Hampshire have to rediscover their fighting qualities as their Championship relegation battle started in earnest.
The Hampshire skipper saw his side crushed by nine wickets at fellow strugglers Worcestershire before lunch yesterday in another heavy four-day defeat for his charges.
It was a fourth loss in seven Championship outings this term for winless Hampshire and leaves them rooted to the bottom of the table – 31 points adrift of second-bottom Yorkshire and 36 points behind Worcestershire who occupy the final safety slot.
Considering their invincible start to the Friends Life t20 campaign, hopes were high Hampshire would use that as a catalyst to improve their fortunes in the four-day format where they have been poor all season.
But it was more of the same in this contest at New Road as they under-performed in all departments.
And perhaps more worryingly was that Cork has raised questions over the fighting spirit in his side as he summed up another dismal team display.
He said: ‘It wasn’t very good and, obviously, we’re very disappointed.
‘To be fair, we were outplayed in all categories.
‘We’ve got to really fight and that means fighting harder than we have in this game.
‘We’re just not hitting our straps, we’re a good side and we’ve got people who can make differences. But at the moment, we are all just off it.
‘There are glimpses of little things coming along well with a great partnership between Neil McKenzie and Nic Pothas on the third day.
‘But when a side scores 400, you don’t really expect to be following on and we were perhaps a little bit low.
‘Whether they should have got 400 is another point.
‘It’s gone now and all we can is to plan how we are going to attack the next Championship game, which is Sussex in two weeks time.’
With just one wicket in hand and a lead of 105 at the start of the day, Imran Tahir was out in the first over to leave Worcestershire with an easy run-chase that they knocked off for the loss of just one wicket inside 25 overs.
Hampshire now return to the t20 tomorrow as they travel to Essex Eagles at Chelmsford.
But it remains a mystery why they have been so good in t20 cricket with five straight wins, yet so poor in the Championship.
Cork said: ‘There was a lot more confidence in the way that we played and I know that sounds stupid when we’ve lost.
‘But we just didn’t execute our plans well enough.’