Hampshire chief stays upbeat

Hampshire chairman Rod Bransgrove
Hampshire chairman Rod Bransgrove
Shahid Afridi. Picture: Neil Marshall

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Rod Bransgrove has moved to lift Hampshire’s spirits after their relegation from Championship division one as he insisted: I’m excited about the future.

The Rose Bowl chairman will look back on 2011 as a mixed year after watching with pride as England hosted Sri Lanka in Test cricket, only to see his county finish bottom of the pile in the Championship and tumble into division two.

But despite some high-profile departures already confirmed and further changes to the playing staff expected, Bransgrove remains upbeat.

He said: ‘As we’ve said in the dressing room and in countless meetings with Giles White, this is not a train smash and nobody has died.

‘We didn’t start the season well, we had some players missing and we have to concede that it wasn’t a successful season.

‘I’m actually quite excited about the future but clearly for our supporters, it’s a year of disappointment, having set the bar so high in previous years.’

While Hampshire have struggled in the Championship for several years and flirted with relegation, they won limited-overs trophies in each of the previous two seasons, with Friends Provident Trophy success in 2009 and their t20 glory the following year.

But they were left empty-handed in 2011, despite another impressive t20 campaign that ended in semi-final disappointment.

Bransgrove said: ‘It’s not all doom and gloom.

‘We’re still a very good club and I think we’ve got the best crop of youngsters in the country at the moment.

‘Now we’ve got an opportunity to regroup.’