Giles White dismissed fears over his Hampshire batsmen and declared: Our top order will come good.
The Ageas Bowl outfit saw their hopes of a confidence-boosting County Championship division two victory in their opening game of the season end in a 33-run defeat to Gloucestershire.
But while there were worries over the club’s threadbare bowling attack before the start of the campaign, few had concerns over a batting department that boasts two Test cricketers, one England Lions batsman and a wealth of ability and promise.
Aside from the 74 scored by Aussie Simon Katich in the first innings, none of the other top six batters got beyond Liam Dawson’s effort of 34 on Friday.
In fact, nobody among those batsmen even made it beyond Michael Carbery’s 18 in the second innings when a solid platform could well have yielded a Hampshire win. But while wicketkeeper Michael Bates (87) and Chris Wood (65) proved runs could be scored on a lively pitch, White shrugged off any criticism aimed at his batsmen.
And it is worth pointing out early-season conditions and pitches tend to favour the bowlers, even if some showed you could buck that trend.
The Hampshire manager said: ‘I wouldn’t worry about the top order.
‘They are class players and they will come good.
‘It was a tricky pitch to bat on. There was something in there for the bowlers but the nature of batting is that you do sometimes get low scores when you bat at the top of the order.
‘They have all got good form, they have come into this game in form and will take that into the next game.
‘But our powerful top order on paper didn’t quite click and we were six wickets down quite early.
‘You want results in either division.
‘This wicket gave us the chance of getting a result and now we go to Glamorgan who have had a tough start.
‘We will take a lot of positives from this game.
‘If we play consistently good cricket, we will win games. It’s just about finding that consistency.’
Hampshire probably lost the game in the first innings when Gloucestershire’s Chris Dent stuck in for 114 to help his side to 314 – which eventually yielded a lead of 115 runs at the midway point in the contest.
But White was pleased with his side’s response, even though it ended in defeat. He said: ‘It’s not the way we wanted to start the season.
‘But the game ebbed and flowed and we have come out on the wrong end of it having put in a very good fight on the final day.
‘To get 290 in 80 overs was going to be tough but the way that Bates and Wood played, you suspected that if we’d had an early partnership, we would have had a chance.
‘There was always something in the wicket but Gloucestershire deserved the win and credit to them.’
With Bates and Wood digging in for the cause and playing some fluent strokes, White admitted his hopes had been raised of rescuing the game as it neared a conclusion.
He said: ‘They both played extremely well.
‘They have both worked hard on their batting over the winter and have shown what potential they have got.
‘I thought we might save the game a few overs from the end but when Hamza Riazuddin got out, they got themselves on top again.
‘You look back and analyse the game and there were a few missed chances.
‘They out-performed us in that department but now we have to respond against Glamorgan this week.
‘We want to make a good start to the season and don’t want to be playing catch-up.’