White warns promotion scrap will go to the wire

Hampshire manager Giles White. Picture: Neil Marshall
Hampshire manager Giles White. Picture: Neil Marshall
Tom Alsop. Picture: Neil Marshall

Alsop: Best is yet to come from Hampshire

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Giles White warmed up for the County Championship division two promotion tear-up and admitted: It is going to be tight.

Hampshire drew level on points with second-placed Yorkshire when they were held to a draw by Gloucestershire at Bristol yesterday.

After going into the final day with high hopes of victory, a century from Ian Cockbain left them frustrated.

With four fixtures remaining, the Ageas Bowl outfit remain in the race for promotion alongside champions-elect Derbyshire.

And White is expecting the scrap for a spot in the top flight next season to go right to the wire.

Hampshire’s manager said: We’re happy with where we are now.

‘Obviously it is coming to the end of the season now, so every point is crucial.

‘And we will go into each game, scrapping away and trying to get every point we can out of it.

‘It is going to be tight – that is obvious.

‘There are probably four sides in it now and others, if they turn things around, who could get involved as well.

‘So we have got to keep working on what we do and make sure we play well.’

Next up for Hampshire is the visit of Northamptonshire to the Ageas Bowl on August 15.

Today, though, they turn their attentions to the Clydesdale Bank 40 competition – and a trip to group B strugglers Glamorgan.

Hampshire are one point adrift of Surrey at the top, determined to make the knockout stages.

And White reckons they can take some positives from Bristol, across the Severn Bridge to the Swalec Stadium.

He said: ‘It was a battle. We knew we had to take wickets – and early wickets – to give ourselves a chance.

‘But it wasn’t to be and I thought Gloucester batted well.

‘The sun was out yesterday, it looked flatter and there wasn’t an awful lot in it for the bowlers but the boys stuck to task well. We will take a few positives out of the game.

‘(Neil) McKenzie’s batting was really good and (Simon) Katich was in good form, too, so we will take that into a big game today.’

Cockbain stood in the way of Hampshire and their push for victory yesterday.

Backed into a corner with injuries to three of his own team’s bowlers, the 25-year-old compiled his second first-class century as he fought for a draw. Hampshire’s hopes of chasing down a modest total had been turned to dust when Cockbain was ninth out for 112 – bowled by the unlikely Katich.

Eventually closing on 277, Gloucestershire then bowled two overs at their visitors before the two captains shook hands at 5pm.