Vince steps up as Royals win again

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James Vince insists that Hampshire are ready for anything after stepping up to the plate to help his side shrug off the loss of Michael Lumb.

With the Royals opener ruled out of the game after suffering an ankle injury in the pre-match football warm-up, 21-year-old Vince hit a flowing 55.

And the Rose Bowl outfit claimed a nine-run victory over Essex in a rain-affected clash.

Lumb’s absence, coupled with the loss of Nic Pothas to an emergency appendix operation, robbed Hampshire of two of their most experienced stars.

But it seems that nothing can derail Dominic Cork’s rampant side on their home turf as they chalked up their seventh straight win in this year’s Friends Life t20 with another convincing display.

Vince said: ‘Winning is a habit.

‘We’ve been unbeaten here for a while now, including last year and we’re making it a real fortress.

‘Lumby’s obviously been playing well but Benny (Howell) stepped in as a capable replacement and Michael Bates kept wicket really well.

‘It just shows the strength of our squad.

‘Playing football is a routine we’ve got into before games. We’ll move on and hopefully he’ll have a quick recovery.’

The early diagnosis was that Lumb suffered ligament damage but he will be sent for an X-ray today to make sure there is no fracture.

Pothas, meanwhile, looks set to miss at least the next couple of weeks as he recovers from surgery.

With the Royals effectively securing their place in the last eight of the competition with last night’s win and on course for a home tie as one of the top two qualifiers, it’s possible that they may have to make do without the pair for the August quarter-finals.

But Vince insists that Hampshire have the momentum of winning on their side and has urged his team-mates to continue their run.

He said: ‘It’s going well but we want to keep on winning all the way through to the quarters.

‘We can’t drop off now because we don’t want to turn up to the quarters on the back of a couple of losses.

‘Last year we snuck in there and had the momentum so we want to keep that going as long as we can.’

There was some good news on the injury front with Michael Carberry closing in on a first-team return after agreeing to turn out for Havant on a short-term basis as he continues his recovery from a lung complaint.

Carberry will play for the Southern Electric Premier league leaders this weekend, ironically against Hampshire Academy after returning to action in the seconds this week.