Paul Terry set Hampshire the daunting target of five wins from five after a second successive C & G Trophy defeat.

Holders Hampshire were unbeaten in seven C & G games before last weekend.

But they have now lost their last two games by just 13 runs (at Middlesex last week) and four wickets after yesterday's last-ball defeat against Kent at The Rose Bowl.

Now they have to beat Somerset at Taunton next Sunday, and their four other remaining South Conference games, to stand a chance of qualifying for the August 26 Lord's showpiece final.

Hampshire are down to fourth in a ten-team group where only the top side qualifies for Lord's.

Essex are the new leaders after three wins from four games, while Sussex have won all three of their group matches.

Hants first team manager Terry said: "It's a pretty even group so teams are going to take points off each other.

"I'll be surprised if any team wins every game, but now each game is a knockout for us.

"We need to win five out of five, we can't afford any more slip ups.

"We need Sussex to lose a couple of games somewhere and if we win our last five anything can happen.

"We've lost a couple of close games now so hopefully the next one will go our way."

After winning the toss, Hampshire set Kent 259 to win, with Australian overseas import Dominic Thornely starring with an unbeaten 108 - his maiden Hampshire ton in any competition.

The home side were still the favourites with seven balls remaining, when Kent still needed 18 runs.

But then Andrew Hall struck home skipper Shane Warne for a colossal six and the visitors scrambled the winning single off the last ball.

Terry continued: "It was a really good game of cricket and could have gone either way, so it was disappointing to get so close but to lose at the end.

"With two quality spinners in our side, it suits us to bat first and I thought we did well.

"We could have squeezed out another ten runs somewhere along the line but we scored 80-odd off our last ten overs which was a good effort.

"Dominic played a really classy innings, he was a due a good knock and he looked good from ball one.

"He struck the ball in the middle of the bat straight away."

Terry gave Kent credit for their outstanding run chase.

He added: "They played well to get 30 off the last three.

"We were favourites at that stage but Andrew Hall hitting a six off Warney was a pretty crucial blow and Matthew Walker played very well.

"The six was a huge hit, it was crucial.

" If you need 15 or 16 off the last over, even if you get a couple of boundaries you still have to get a reasonable amount off three or four balls, so it was crucial six.

"It came down to two overs at the end and unfortunately they hit some great shots to get over the line."