Burridge’s Dods forced to wait

Geoff Dods

Geoff Dods

Chris Stone

Havant relish quest for double joy

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Burridge face another week of frustration as they wait on clearance for their overseas player ahead of the home showdown with Havant.

Geoff Dods, who played a key role in last season’s promotion-winning campaign, has been unable to play in the Southern Electric Premier League so far because of an administrative error.

Although he was at the club last term, the South African did not apply for renewal of a form for police clearance, with the league officials requiring one that was issued within the past three months.

And that means Burridge are without a key all-rounder who scored 461 runs and took 42 wickets in division one last term to spearhead their promotion charge.

Skipper Rick Ankers said: ‘The form was issued last year but it’s a rule we didn’t know about where it had to be renewed and there is no leeway.

‘He has since applied but we don’t know when it will arrive.

‘It’s incredibly frustrating for both him and us. But it’s an administration error and rules are rules.

‘He would certainly have made a difference last week and I’m sure he would against Havant as well because he is a quality player. But we just have to get on with it and hope it arrives soon.’

After recent weather woes, Burridge got their campaign started last week but went down to Lymington on their return to top-flight local cricket.

‘We had two guys at the top of the order who got the best part of 1,400 runs and they both got ducks,’ said Ankers.

‘Jamie Richards and Jamie Rood were then looking well set and both found ways to get out.

‘In reply, we had them 50 for five but they had two batsmen who didn’t panic and batted sensibly.

‘If we’d managed to sneak another 40 or 50 runs, it could have been very different.

‘Hopefully, there won’t be many times where we get off to that bad a start and there were plenty of positives to take.’

In contrast, Havant crushed Totton & Eling by 10 wickets and have made a 100-per-cent start in their bid to regain their premier division crown.

And captain Stuart Ransley believes an increased intensity to one of their pre-season fixtures has paid off.

He said: ‘We are normally quite slow starters but our preparation has been good this year – I don’t know if it’s been better.

‘It’s stood us in good stead to come out of the blocks.

‘One thing we did differently this year was that we played a game among ourselves.

‘It can sometimes be quite hard to find the right level of opposition to be ready for the first game of the season.

‘So we mixed the players up and played against each other instead, so both the batters and the bowlers got a good test.

‘We had one game like that and a couple of friendlies and it seems to have worked quite well.’

Ankers knows his men face a stern test in tackling the league leaders.

He said: ‘Havant are a serious side and they have been for many years.

‘They have got some really good players and it’s a great way to test where we are as a side.’

And Ransley is predicting a tough battle for his charges, too.

‘We are going well but they have got some good individuals and they have proved they are a good side by getting promoted last season,’ said Ransley.

‘They deserve to be in this division and I’m sure they will give us a good challenge.’

Vinit Patel replaces Steve Matthews for Havant, while Sam Lavery comes into the Burridge ranks at the expense of Suji Wickramasinghe.

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