Hilsum: Ventnor were never challengers

Ian Hilsum
Ian Hilsum
Hampshire's James Vince hits a six during the NatWest T20 Blast Finals Day at Edgbaston, Birmingham. PPP-170309-212743001

Hampshire start T20 Blast campaign against Glamorgan

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Ian Hilsum has shrugged off Ventnor’s slip down the Southern Electric premier division table and admitted: We never felt we were title challengers.

The Islanders skipper saw his charges beaten by three wickets thanks to Joe Weatherley’s ice cool 99 for Hampshire Academy last weekend.

Ventnor were knocked off the top by tomorrow’s opponents South Wilts.

But Hilsum does not believe the club’s title hopes are over as he insisted they never had any in the first place.

He said: ‘We’re realistic. Nobody was talking about us trying to win the league.

‘Our target was always to stay in the league, win as many games as possible and enjoy ourselves.

‘Every game is difficult in this league.

‘They played quite well and we didn’t play quite as well as we have done over the past few weeks.

‘They chased it down well and we dropped the guy (Weatherley) who made 99 when he was on nought.

‘We weren’t quite at the races but it’s nothing to worry about.’

Jake George is out with an injured shin for Ventnor.

In division one, Hambledon need a response after a woeful batting effort in last weekend’s demolition by Sarisbury.

The Dons were rolled out for just 88 in an eight-wicket hammering and travel to Rowledge in the league tomorrow.

They then host Truro-based Stithians in the National Village Knockout on Sunday.

In division two, United Services entertain Tichborne Park, eager to put the last-over defeat to Langley Manor behind them.

In division three, promotion challengers Portsmouth host winless Bournemouth II, fresh from their 85-run win over Fair Oak.

Stand-in skipper Jamie Mitchell celebrated a first win as captain by top-scoring with 46.

But it was Farshan Jemildar (four for 20) who did the damage with the ball.

After last week’s win over Trojans, Portsmouth & Southsea will be looking for a second straight win at St Cross II as they try to haul themselves clear of trouble.