Hampshire chairman Rod Bransgrove is determined to see the county avoiding another brush with County Championship relegation in 2018.They stayed up by two points in 2017 after being reinstated in Division One a year earlier after Durham’s demotion.Bransgrove will meet with coaching staff later this month to plan a title challenge next summer.
“Last season we were in the frame at the top end after the first three of four games,” he told BBC Radio Solent.Only three points separated Yorkshire in fourth to relegated Middlesex in seventh at the end of the campaign in September,Hampshire found themselves having to bat out for a draw on the final day at Edgbaston against already-relegated Warwickshire to ensure their survival.”It’s absolutely the ambition of this club to maintain its first division status,” Bransgrove said. “That’s the overriding factor when it comes to four-day cricket aims.”We’ve become a club recognised as one of the top ones and we want to avoid these kind of end-of-season panics we’ve experienced of late.”Bransgrove and first team coach Craig White and director of cricket Giles White must work out how to replace opening batsmen Michael Carberry and Will Smith, who have joined Leicestershire and Durham respectively.The trio will also prepare a contingency in case captain James Vince, currently part of England’s Ashes series squad in Australia, remains unavailable due to England commitments.”We’ll be looking for the courage and combative nature shown on that final day at Edgbaston,” he added. “If we can apply a bit more of that to next season, we’ll be good.”
Source: BBC Hamp