Vince: Hampshire must address winless start

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Stand-in skipper James Vince has called on his Hampshire side to address their deficiencies before they are cut adrift in County Championship division one.

Last season’s division two champions were never going to have it easy on their return to English cricket’s top tier.

But yesterday’s 305-run thrashing by Yorkshire at Headingley extended the Ageas Bowl outfit’s winless run to four games as they occupy second-from-bottom spot in the early season standings.

An opening-day loss at rivals Sussex was followed by successive draws with Warwickshire and Nottinghamshire for Dale Benkenstein’s side.

And Vince admits it is high time Hampshire raised their game to put a vital win on the board.

He said: ‘Every team we have played so far has been a good team.

‘Yorkshire are a very strong side and have a strong squad.

‘But I think it is more about what we are doing to ourselves at the minute.

‘We need to address that pretty quickly, otherwise we are going to see a bit of a gap opening up between us and the rest.’

Hampshire resumed the final morning of the County Championship match on 37 for four and trailing by 411 runs, with their only hope being to bat all day for an unlikely draw.

Despite the loss of two early wickets through nightwatchmen James Tomlinson (three) and all-rounder Sean Ervine (five), a resilient Will Smith (64 not out) was determined to make life as difficult as possible for the hosts.

Support came in the form of young debutant Lewis McManus (28), as Hampshire made the reigning champions work into the afternoon for what appeared to be a routine victory.

Gutsy McManus’ eventual departure sparked a lower-order collapse, though, as the remaining batsmen fell shortly after.

Gareth Berg (12), Andre Adams (nought) and Fidel Edwards (one) all failed to stick around as Yorkshire claimed an emphatic win, with Smith finishing unbeaten for the visitors.

For straight-talking Vince, it was another opportunity missed.

He said: ‘It feels like we have been hammered there, which we have – but not all the way through the game.

‘At times we did compete and were in good positions but never nailed it down and got right ahead in the game.

‘We were pleased to be out bowling first on a wicket that had a bit in it.

‘We got in a good position, bowled well in the first session and with them on 110 for four it was looking good.

‘But during that middle session we didn’t bowl as well as we could.

‘Jonny (Bairstow) played well and took the game away from us a bit.

‘And then with the bat we were in a similar position.

‘We fought with them but not for long enough.’