All to play for as rivals square up at the Heath

James Gurney Picture: Mick Young
James Gurney Picture: Mick Young
Tom Alsop. Picture: Neil Marshall

Hampshire crushed in T20 by Somerset

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Promotion ambitions are on the line as Purbrook and Portsmouth & Southsea go head to head in a Hampshire League division one derby at the Heath.

It is second versus third, with both teams having lost just once so far this season.

Home captain Martin Lee recognises there is a lot at stake but is backing his team to handle the pressure in what he expects to be a hard-fought game.

‘This is a big game for both teams and it is up to us to go out there and do the business,’ said Lee.

‘It will be our toughest test yet this season and there will be a lot of pressure on both sets of players.

‘I am sure that my players will be able to handle that and will hold their nerve.

‘We have made an excellent start and there is a different vibe about the team.

‘There is a lot more competition for places and that means none of the team, myself included, can afford to rest on their laurels.

‘Players know they have to raise their game if they want to keep their places.

‘This game will be no different in that respect.’

The home side make one change from the team that returned from Ventnor with a win under their belts.

James Gurney, who took four wickets, is unavailable but Purbrook have a ready-made replacement in the returning Matt McGlinchey.

Off-spinner McGlinchey is on a football and cricket scholarship at Millfield School.

‘Portsmouth & Southsea caught us early doors and beat us in the first game of last season,’ added Lee.

‘This is a chance for us to put the record straight.

‘The team who loses this game will find themselves playing catch-up and we don’t want to be doing that.’

Visiting captain Kieran Dunston is relishing the opportunity to overtake their hosts and grab the initiative at the top of the league.

His team showed in their recent win over United Services that they can come out on top in tight games.

‘United Services were on top but we showed a lot of grit and determination to win in the end,’ said Dunston.

‘In my eyes we should be unbeaten because in the one game we did lose, at Bishops Waltham, we were still the better team.

‘Our side contains a lot of match-winners who can swing results our way.

‘Every one of our players has a big performance in him.

‘We may not be quite at full strength but the team we are putting out are capable of giving it a good go.’

Dunston has to cope without unavailable opening batsman Matt Smith, but he is replaced by Tom Farnsworth who returns from university.

Matt Williams is also drafted into the side after some impressive bowling performances in the second team.

Purbrook: Martin Lee, Brad Mengham, Jon Moller, Sean Figgins, Ben Michel, James Holder, Clark Harding, Aaron Dean,

Matt McGlinchey, Sameen Mahboob, Hamed Khan

Portsmouth & Southsea: Tom Farnworth, Steve Clement,

Jack Davies, Matt Benfield, Tom Benfield, Rob Adams,

Matt Williams, Ben Saunders, Chis Turrell, Kieran Dunston, Jonathan Willey