HAMPSHIRE captain James Vince insists the first month of the 2024 County Championship season will shape how their campaign will go.

The Ageas Bowl side will travel to Durham in the first game of the season on Friday, April 5, who they have not faced in red-ball cricket since 2016.

They will then face Lancashire, Warwickshire, and last season's county champions Surrey in a tough opening four weeks.

Vince, who will spend the winter months at Sydney Sixers in the Australian Big Bash league, claimed they do not have much margin for error in that period.

Speaking to the Daily Echo, he said: "It looks like a tough start on paper but it will really shape our season if we can get off to a good start in that first month.

"We found ourselves chasing the tail of Surrey a little bit in the previous years.

"That takes a lot out of the lads when you are chasing results. In certain games, it can make you play slightly differently. One slip-up and the gap widens then it comes a near impossible task.

"That first month we’ve got to play a lot of sides who I think will be up there at the end of the year. Starting strong will set the season up.

"We need to make sure that we remain nice and calm and are not chasing too many points after the first month. That will be crucial to how the rest of the season goes."

Hampshire finished third in the County Championship in 2023, while also making finals day in the T20 Blast and the final in the Metro Bank One-Day cup.

Vince admitted it was a good season across all formats but wants his side to turn draws into wins and avoid defeat, in particular, against defending champions Surrey on Friday, April 26.

He continued: "We were competitive across all formats. With the white-ball stuff, we speak about getting to the knockout stages.

"As we have seen over plenty of years now anything can happen once you get to that stage of the tournament.

"In the four-day stuff, I think we have finished second or third for the last three years in a row so we just need to find a few extra points here and there.

"Turning one or two of the draws into wins and avoiding defeats in a couple of games is important.  

"We need to close that gap on Surrey who I imagine will be there or thereabouts, so Surrey away is one fixture that we look at.

"We have not come away from there with many points in the past, we had a slightly better performance there last year and the guys are keen to go there and get a good result this year."