Worcestershire Head Coach Kevin Sharp gave his reaction after the 114 run defeat to Hampshire in the Specsavers County Championship match at Blackfinch New Road.

The County were in strong contention for substantial periods of the game but were bowled out for 133 in their second innings on a pitch which was seamer-friendly throughout.

Sharp said: “In many ways it has been a close encounter. I just think that probably we didn’t start the game as well as we would have liked to have done.

“I think the first hour and a half, with the overcast conditions and a misty morning, I don’t think it quite happened and we didn’t challenge as well as we could with the ball generally in that period.

“Also we dropped a couple of chances as well and this year, overall, one of the differences has been that we have put down one or two catches at vital times to key players and that has sometimes cost us a little bit.

“That is not through lack of preparation or effort or anything like that. It has happened and if we had caught a couple of catches early on the first morning, Hampshire, like in all the other three innings, could have been 20-4 quite easily.

“Maybe they would have been 70 runs less in their first innings and the game would have been so, so close.

“It’s been a pitch that has done a bit, it’s nipped around a little bit and their bowling attack is experienced. They are Test cricketers and, ball for ball, they hit their straps regularly and made it so difficult for us.

“When you are four down with that new ball for not many, it is always going to be tough.

“Our bowlers are at the beginning of their careers. They are learning their trade and we can’t ask for anymore from them.

“Two weeks ago it was a fantastic performance at Scarborough with the way they bowled. There are no complaints really.

“We are quite young in some areas and that is a work in progress.”