Ankers backs Burridge to make history

Burridge bowler Geoff Dodds
Burridge bowler Geoff Dodds
Sean Ervine is caught by Varun Chopra. Picture: Kevin Shipp

Bowlers put Hampshire in control of Essex clash

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Rick Ankers doesn’t see any reason why Southern League premier division leaders Burridge cannot go on and lift the title for the first time in their history.

He is confident his team possess the mental toughness required to keep their run going.

Burridge visit Alton this weekend determined to stay ahead of nearest rivals Havant and Bashley (Rydal).

Ankers is wary of the threat Alton will pose and insists his team will need to stay at their best to chalk up another win.

‘It is important that we keep going hard at it,’ said Ankers.

‘I don’t see why we shouldn’t be able to win the title because we have good enough players here to do it.

‘None of the other teams possess anything to really scare us – and that includes South Wilts.

‘When they beat us we had five first-choice players missing.

‘All we have to do is make sure that we keep playing positive cricket.

‘I have my plans and I intend to stick to them.

‘Although we have finished ninth for the past two seasons we have been gradually building and gaining greater experience.’

Burridge won’t be able to call on the services of Ryan Stephenson, who could miss the next six weeks due to injury.

He will, however, have talented Guernsey batsman Ben Fitchett available.

Fitchett is expected to make his third appearance for the club at Alton.

The 19-year-old did well scoring 40 on his debut and is regarded as an excellent prospect.

Ankers insisted there are no easy games and isn’t expecting an easy ride at Alton.

‘You have to take your hats off to the way Alton have stayed in the premier division,’ said Ankers.

‘They have a fantastic skipper in Jack Myers and last season their bowler Julian Ballinger was the league’s second highest wicket-taker.

‘We will show them the necessary respect and will need to be at the top of our game.’

If Geoff Dodds can repeat the form he showed against Hampshire Academy last weekend then Alton, however, may find it hard to resist.

Dodds destroyed the Academy batsmen, taking six wickets for 19 runs as he ripped the heart out of their innings.

‘I have played a lot of high-level amateur cricket but have never seen a spell like that,’ said Ankers.

‘It was even more extraordinary that he did it on a flat Ageas Bowl wicket against decent young batsmen.

‘He helped us do a professional job as we went about it the right way.

‘Anyone from outside looking at the two sides would have seen us as a serious outfit.

‘The key now is to remain strong and keep it going to the end of the summer. Who knows where that will take us.’

Burridge: Dan Hewitt, Joe Houlton, Joe Collings-Wells,

Geoff Dodds, Ben Fitchett, James Richards, Will Steward,

Dan Stancliffe, Sullivan White, Nick McMurray, Rick Ankers