Hambledon tumbled to a six-wicket loss to OTs & Romsey in the wake of Ian Turner’s shock resignation as captain.
The former Hampshire spinner informed the players before the start of the division two clash he had stepped down and vice-captain Rob Atkins was to take on the role.
Turner was unhappy with his form in the early weeks of the season but his successor believes it is vital he stays on as a key part of the side.
Atkins said: ‘He wasn’t enjoying his cricket and didn’t feel like he was producing his best for the team.
‘I’m proud to take on the Hambledon captaincy but, naturally, I wouldn’t have wanted to do it under these circumstances.
‘The most important thing to me was that Ian remained a part of the team.
‘He is our star player and still has plenty to offer.
‘Hopefully, me taking on the extra responsibility will allow him to get back to his best with the ball.
‘We all enjoyed playing under Turns and it’s sad he felt he could not do it to the level he wanted.
‘He is a very popular man at the club – he lives and breathes Hambledon.
‘What is crucial now is we maintain the same spirit he has worked so hard to develop.
‘I certainly won’t be slow to ask his advice.’
A disastrous start to their innings in Romsey saw the Dons reduced to two for two.
The new skipper then dug in to top-score with 39 in their meagre total of 123.
But it never looked like being enough and, despite wobbling at 37 for three, OTs got home with plenty to spare with Atkins playing down the impact of the skipper’s pre-match announcement.
Atkins said: ‘I don’t think it played much of a part in the result, to be honest.
‘A few of the lads realised Turns was not happy.
‘We are an inexperienced team and rebuilding in a way.
‘The win over Sparsholt the previous week showed our potential but it will be a while before we can produce performances like that on a consistent basis.
‘We were okay in periods, particularly with the ball, but there are three or four key areas where we need to be smarter.’