No final farewell for proud Dimi

Dimi Mascarenhas leads the Royals off. Picture: Dave Allen
Dimi Mascarenhas leads the Royals off. Picture: Dave Allen
George Bailey is bowled for a duck against Essex. Picture: Neil Marshall

Hampshire fall to Essex loss

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Dimi Mascarenhas has spoken of his pain at missing out on a fairytale career finale.

But the retiring skipper insists he is proud of playing a part in a golden era in Hampshire’s history.

The all-rounder has been a key man as the Royals have lifted four trophies since 2009.

He was also part of the Hampshire team who triumphed in the Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy in 2005.

Another crown was on the cards this term, too, as he led his side to Friends Life t20 finals day and helped fire them to the last four of the Yorkshire Bank 40 competitive.

It was not to be, though – the Royals coming up short on both occasions.

Mascarenhas, who made his debut for the county in 1996, admitted his frustration at not making either final.

But he reckons the success he has experienced in a Hampshire shirt in recent times more than makes up for that hurt.

The ex-England all-rounder said: ‘It is very sad. At least one final would have been nice.

‘But we haven’t performed at our best in the two games and we have lost them both.

‘They are the ones that count and it just wasn’t to be.

‘We have had a lot of success over the years, though – especially recently – and that has been absolutely great.

‘It took me 10 years to get to Lord’s the first time.

‘So to play a couple of Lord’s finals and t20 finals day a couple of times has been phenomenal.’

Mascarenhas has been a talismanic figure for the county on the pitch, while chairman Rod Bransgrove has worked his magic off it.

He has seen them transformed from the ‘happy Hampshire’ of Northlands Road to the perennial title contenders of the Ageas Bowl – the land’s latest Test venue.

But modest to the end, the 35-year-old played down his role and admitted he was shocked by the reception he got from the fans on Saturday.

He said: ‘It is hugely different now – it is hard to put into words.

‘We went from Northlands Road, one of the smallest grounds in the country, to this amazing stadium. It’s just huge.

‘A lot of credit has to go to Rod. It was his vision to make it a Test match ground.

‘We have had one. It would have been nice to have an Ashes match this year but I’m sure there will be some down the track.

‘It is an unbelievable place to play and once the hotel is built at the back, it will be even more special.

‘I’m very proud to have played my part in the club’s success. Absolutely.

‘But I wasn’t expecting a reception like that, especially before the game and during the game.

‘It is nice to be loved and nice to be wanted. It is a great feeling.

‘I hope I have left my mark but it is time for somebody else now.

‘There will be a lot of boys up there in our changing room who will do a lot better than I have done.

‘So it will be great to sit back and watch them.’