T20 Cup can ignite US’ season

James Vince will no longer captain Hampshire for County Championship matches.  Picture: Sarah Standing

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United Services are hopeful this year’s Southern Electric T20 Cup will help them relieve some of the early-season pressure on their shoulders.

Lee Carroll’s side have started their division two campaign with two defeats – the latest of which was last weekend’s home reverse to Hursley Park.

US continue their league campaign tomorrow with a trip to OTs & Romsey.

But Sunday sees them host Andover in the first round of this year’s T20 competition and the US skipper believes it could be welcome relief.

Carroll said: ‘It puts you under pressure straight away when you lose your first two games.

‘Nobody is hitting the panic button just yet and I’m more than confident we have got the players to do well this season.

‘But we just need that first win of and then I’m sure we won’t look back.

‘The T20 Cup is not a priority for us but it’s still good fun to play and there is a massive incentive to get to the final to play at the Ageas Bowl.

‘Andover are from the league above us so we know it will be a tough ask for us.

‘But we’ve got plenty of players who can clear the ropes and there’s no pressure on us.

‘That means we can just go out and enjoy it.’

Beaten semi-finalists from last season, Sarisbury Athletic, will fancy their chances of another run in the competition after their unfortunate exit last term.

Athletic lost to Bashley (Rydal) on run rate when rain forced their semi-final showdown to be abandoned when it was poised for a grandstand finish.

David Banks’ side start this year’s cup quest at Fawley but will first travel to Hook & Newnham Basics in a division one encounter tomorrow.

Portsmouth, who have started the season with two impressive wins in division three, will try to make it three on the bounce at home to St Cross II.

The St Helen’s outfit will then host premier division side Lymington in the T20 Cup on Sunday. All fixtures start at 3pm.

Burridge v St Cross, Hook & Newnham Basics v Portsmouth & Southsea, Hambledon v Tichborne Park and Ventnor v Liphook & Ripsley all take place on May 26, while Havant got a bye into round two.

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