Dimi Mascarenhas reflected on his heartbreaking Hampshire t20 swansong and told the club’s new generation they must learn from it.
For the second time in four years, the Royals suffered semi-final disappointment on finals day at Edgbaston.
The reigning Friends Life t20 champions went down by four wickets to Surrey after posting a below-par 142 for nine.
It was the skipper’s final game in the shortest format for his county, having announced his decision to retire at the end of the season.
As the 35-year-old prepared to hand over the mantle to the club’s young generation, he warned them to learn from their mistakes.
And the he believes his team-mates will do just that – bouncing back even stronger as they chase the Yorkshire Bank 40 final at Lord’s.
Mascarenhas said: ‘The opportunity to win trophies is what any county cricketer plays for.
‘And we are still lucky enough to have a chance to go to Lord’s, so we will be working really hard to get there.
‘We have done remarkably well over the last few years but it just shows, this game is a tough.
‘You can’t take anything for granted because there are other teams out there gunning for you.
‘I know the young guys have played a lot of cricket but they are still learning and it’s mainly been the old heads who have got us through finals days.
‘We’ve got some talented cricketers, though, and they will learn from it.’
Going into the match, Hampshire had defeated Surrey in each of their last four t20 meetings.
Although they started the day as favourites, it was Surrey who did the business when it really counted – leaving the Royals unable to retain their crown.
And Mascarenhas accepted his men were second best.
‘We just didn’t get enough runs, simple as that,’ he conceded.
‘I thought we bowled really well but it’s tough trying to defend 140 in a final.
‘Yeah, we got close but it wasn’t close enough.
‘It was a semi-final, a big game, but we didn’t turn up.
‘It just shows we’ve got a fair bit to work on.
‘We made a lot of mistakes. If you make one mistake it can kill you and we found that out.
‘We’ve got a lot of stuff we can work on and get better at.
‘Hopefully next year the boys will be back at finals day again.’