Dale Benkenstein admitted he was left embarrassed by Hampshire’s latest capitulation.
The bottom club in Championship division one went down by an innings and 33 runs to their closest relegation rivals Worcestershire at New Road as they were bowled out for 262 on the final day.
The manner in which we are losing is embarrassing and that is quite disappointing for me.Dale Benkenstein
With just six games remaining of an increasingly desperate season, the result left Hampshire cut adrift at the foot of the table and hurtling towards an instant return to division two.
But with so many players lacking form, the first-team coach was also stunned at the manner of the defeat.
Benkenstein said: ‘I’m shocked.
‘The concern for me is the way we play. I don’t mind losing a match – winning and losing is part of the game.
‘The manner in which we are losing is embarrassing and that is quite disappointing for me.
‘As a player, I would be very disappointed and as a coach, it’s a reflection on me.
‘That’s not how I like to play my cricket – to lay down and die.
‘That’s the feeling that I have had and not the feeling we got from the guys last year.
‘We fought really hard last year but this is probably a culmination of a few losses. You lose form and you lose a bit of heart, I suppose.
‘Your character is shown when you are under pressure.
‘When we have been asked to stand up and be counted, we have been a bit weak.
‘It doesn’t look very positive at the moment but cricket turns around very quickly.’
Hampshire have been way below their efforts of last year that saw them seal the division two crown.
And while Benkenstein knows there has been a step up in the standard, he expected much more from his side.
He said: ‘It may be linked to going up a level and that has knocked them from doing what they do well.
‘Maybe they are trying different things to be better rather than sticking to what they know.
‘It isn’t only the batting. We haven’t played well all round and have found it really tough.
‘I thought we had turned the corner at Hove when we beat Sussex.
‘We played good, hard cricket and that’s the brand of cricket I want to see us play. I’d have liked to have seen it more.
‘There are players here who have performed well over a number of years.
‘They are allowed to have a lean season but when they are all doing it together, it’s not ideal.’
It is now six straight defeats for Hampshire in both four-day and t20 cricket and they will attempt to stop the rot in the latter format at home to Surrey tonight (7pm).
But they are in serious danger of failing to qualify from the south group with the South African feeling they must win three out of their four remaining games.
Benkenstein said: ‘We are under massive pressure in the t20 as well.
‘We need to win three out of the next four, I would say.
‘If we lose this one against Surrey, I think we would need to win all three.
‘If you want to get on a roll, now is the time to do it because it goes straight into quarter-finals and semi-finals.
‘But it needs to change.’