HAMPSHIRE have not given up hope of winning their first County Championship title since 1973, following their latest Edgbaston semi-final defeat.

After losing to Nottinghamshire Outlaws, who completed the limited-overs double by beating Birmingham Bears in Natwest T20 Blast final, Hampshire are focused on tomorrow’s return to Championship action against Surrey at The Ageas Bowl.

To win the title Hampshire need to win at least three of their remaining four games and for leaders Essex, who have a 60-point advantage over George Bailey’s side, to suffer an improbable run of defeats.

But third-placed Hampshire can go a long way to securing their highest Championship place since their runners-up spot under Shane Warne in 2005 by beating Surrey, who are two points behind them in fourth, having drawn eight of their last nine matches.

After scoring 56 in his side’s fifth Edgbaston semi-final defeat in seven years, Vince said: “Now we just have to lift ourselves and go again in the championship.

“It’s the first season for a while we have played good championship cricket so we have got Surrey starting on Tuesday.

“It’s an opportunity to finish the season well and, if we can’t win the championship, we’ll try to finish strongly and get a top-three finish.”

Essex visit the Ageas Bowl in the penultimate round of Championship games two weeks tomorrow.

But the race for the title will be all over bar the shouting if they secure a sixth successive win against nearest rivals Lancashire at Old Trafford this week.