Hampshire focused on promotion job

Will Smith helped Hampshire to a draw against Kent last time out Picture: Neil Marshall
Will Smith helped Hampshire to a draw against Kent last time out Picture: Neil Marshall
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Dale Benkenstein is determined to keep some perspective on Hampshire’s season as they attempt to finish the promotion job.

The first-team coach takes his side to Glamorgan today knowing victory will clinch the club’s return to the top flight of the Championship.

Hampshire hold a 10-point advantage over in-form Essex, who face already-promoted Worcestershire in the final round of fixtures.

So as long as the Ageas Bowl outfit can match Essex’s result, promotion will be theirs.

While Benkenstein is focused on steering the club back among the four-day elite, he does not believe the campaign would be a failure if they miss out.

He said: ‘We are in a good position and we’ve beaten Glamorgan before, so of course we want to finish the job.

‘We have moved forward this year but it would be fitting and it would be really deserved for the players to be promoted.

‘I’m sure they would be disappointed if things don’t go their way but I would try to keep things in perspective.

‘I’m pretty confident and everyone is ready to go.

‘It wouldn’t make the season a failure for me if we don’t get promoted.

‘To be in this position going into the last game is somewhere we haven’t been for a number of years. That is a real step forward.

‘When you look at the season as a whole, the environment is a great place to be.

‘That is very important – if you have got that right, success will follow.

‘Now we’ve got the chance in the next four days to have something to show for it.

‘But if we don’t, I have no doubt it will follow fairly shortly if we carry on as we are.’

Hampshire have certainly looked a better four-day team this year.

And Benkenstein is confident his men could compete in the higher division next term if they can claim the second promotion spot.

He said: ‘Our results show it has been one of our more successful years.

‘In a first year as coach, there are a lot of things that can go horribly wrong.

‘If you look it at from that point of view, I have really enjoyed it and the environment is good.

‘But I think this is a good team that is moving in the right direction.

‘There is a really good balance between the senior players and good, young players.

‘That is healthy for a team and I feel they would hold their own in the first division.’

While Hampshire have their destiny in their own hands, Benkenstein will also be keeping a close eye on what is happening at Chelmsford.

‘We will keep a close eye on the Essex game – we have to do that,’ said the first-team coach.

‘It’s great it’s come down to the last game of the season.

‘If we are in control of the game and things go how we want them to, what happens in the Essex game doesn’t really matter.

‘But it would be stupid if we didn’t know what was happening in that game.

‘We have those 10 points in the bank and we may need to make some clever decisions to use that to our advantage.’