HAMPSHIRE first-team coach Jimmy Cook still believes they can have a say in the county championship after falling to a crushing nine-wicket defeat by Somerset with a day to spare at The County Ground.

But Cook warns: "We need to get away from the fear of failure."

England paceman Andy Caddick was the chief executioner with seven wickets as Hampshire were skittled out for a paltry 126 in their second innings yesterday, leaving Somerset with just 40 wins to run.

And, although the season is barely a month old, Cook said: "I think there's a lack of confidence among the batters. You have a couple of low scores and you wonder where you're going to get runs. You have to have that self-belief.

"Watching the guys in the nets I believe we're actually batting quite nicely. It's disappointing when they go out into the middle and they don't get anything.

"We had at least half an hour in the nets before the start but they're not showing me out in the middle what they're doing in the nets.

"It was very disappointing, we didn't do very well at all. On a good batting track our batting in the first innings was poor and it was even poorer in the second innings, apart from Chalkie.

"We batted badly on a fantastic batting wicket and you can't get away from that," said Cook who cited Somerset captain Jamie Cox as an example after his first innings 153 laid the foundations for his side's win.

"Jamie played the type of innings you needed to play on that pitch. It was a wicket you needed to apply yourself on and to work hard.

"Everyone who did that, got stuck in and built a foundation for their innings, was successful."

But Cook is still convinced that Hampshire can mount a title challenge.

"There are 16 games in the championship and we have said we need to win ten if we're going to win it and we have lost one.

"There are 15 opportunities left, we know we're a good side, we have to get our heads down and show it."

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