Last orders called on Hants’ division one status

Neil McKenzie fails to take a catch in the slips
Neil McKenzie fails to take a catch in the slips
Sarisbury are focused on improving their batting

Sarisbury focused on batting improvements

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The Hampshire staff will make all the right noises, no doubt.

But their stay in the top-flight of the LV County Championship is effectively over as their division one status literally slipped through their fingers in the clash with Warwickshire.

At home to a side chasing the title and knowing that they need a win to have any chance of staying up, the Rose Bowl outfit dropped five possible catches to all-but seal their drop into division two, as the visitors made the most of their numerous escapes to close on 296 for three at the end of day one.

Varun Chopra – dropped on just two by Michael Carberry – went on to hit 109, while Shivnarine Chanderpaul (107 not out) got a second life when Carberry dropped a regulation chance in the slips with the West Indies batsman on 36.

It was decidedly out of character for a normally reliable slip fielder who took a fabulous catch in the impressive victory at Somerset recently.

But the batsman was left pounding the ground in frustration at a dropped catch that should have been taken in a Hampshire League division four match.

But it wasn’t just Carberry who had to share the responsibility, as both James Vince and Chris Wood failed to difficult chances.

Meanwhile, Liam Dawson put down another good opportunity.

James Tomlinson was the luckless bowler who kept finding the edge of the bat and cut an exasperated figure as chances went begging with alarming regularity.

But Sean Ervine had only himself to blame late in the day when he had Jim Troughton caught behind, only for the umpire to signal that the bowler had overstepped the crease.

Chopra and Chanderpaul are not the kind of batsmen who need charity from fielders to build big scores and they ensured that they made the very most of their opportunities with a frustrating partnership worth 188 runs.

Considering Hampshire need a big win to have any hope of avoiding relegation, those chances look to have gone now.

But having left it so late to make their bid to stay in the division, Hampshire have been drinking in the Last Chance Saloon for several weeks now.

After a day like that, the reality is that last orders have now been called.