Benkenstein will turn to Hampshire's future
Dale Benkenstein is focusing on the silver lining in Hampshire's NatWest T20 Blast demise.
The first-team coach admitted he was disappointed as his side slumped to the foot of the south group with a five-wicket defeat to Essex at Chelmsford last night.
But as he prepares to lift his troops for a clash with Gloucestershire at the Ageas Bowl this afternoon (1.30pm), he reckons the future is bright.
Benkenstein is confident the experience gained by the likes of young guns Tom Alsop, Joe Weatherley and Lewis McManus will stand them in good stead for the coming campaigns.
And he hinted more of the county’s fledgling talents will get game time in the remainder of Hampshire’s south group fixtures.
Benkenstein said: ‘It is a very tough competition when you have lost a bit of confidence.
‘The good thing for me is we have almost got the future of the club playing now.
‘Guys are going to start getting experience in the next few games.
‘We felt this game was still important and I wanted to play as many match-winners who were available as I could.
‘But I want to field young players who could gain from the experience from the next six games, so we can start building for next season.
‘So it’s not all doom and gloom, just disappointing.’
Hampshire won the toss and elected to bat at Chelmsford last night.
And they got off to a decent start as Michael Carberry (34) and 20-year-old Alsop (13) put on 49 for the first wicket in seven overs.
However, both openers departed without a further run being added and when 19-year-old Weatherley (18) was dismissed with the score on 89, the wheels came off.
Liam Dawson struck 26 but the remainder of the batting order offered little in the way of meaningful contributions.
And that left Essex firmly in the box seat on home turf.
Hampshire did not roll over and had the hosts 45 for three in reply.
Dawson (three for 24) was the main man with the ball but a partnership of 59 between Tom Westley (27) and man-of-the-match Ashar Zaidi (52) settled the home fans’ nerves.
Benkenstein said: ‘We were probably 20 runs short. We got a few wickets at the right time and had we squeezed and fielded well we could have taken the game right to the end. But we’re not doing that at the moment.
‘We didn’t manage to put a matchwinning score or match-winning partnership together. We flattered to deceive.
‘Winning gives you momentum and we have got some important four-day games coming up.
‘We knew if we won it would give us a bit of a lift but we’re consistently doing the basics pretty poorly.
‘We’re saying the right things but we need to go and do it out in the middle.’
Today’s game is swiftly followed by a County Championship division one clash with Somerset at the Ageas Bowl, starting tomorrow.