Burridge start battle

Rick Ankers

Rick Ankers

Reece Topley celebrates the wicket of Tim Bresnan for Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl. Picture: Neil Marshall

Things didn’t Ballance in Hampshire’s favour

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Burridge will make their long-awaited return to the Southern Electric Premier League premier division tomorrow as they travel to Lymington.

Rick Ankers’ side sealed promotion to the top flight last season in impressive fashion with 13 wins and just two defeats from their 15 fixtures.

Consecutive home games against Hampshire Academy and St Cross were both cancelled because of the weather but the division’s new boys should finally get their opportunity to rub shoulders with the top sides this weekend as they start their campaign for consolidation.

Ankers said: ‘It’s been a frustrating start for everyone but we are looking forward to getting going now.

‘We know there is a jump in standard and this season is about consolidation.

‘But if we get off to a positive start, I don’t expect us to be in a relegation dogfight.

‘I still believe we have got the best batsman in the whole league in Derek Kenway and if he performs as we know he can, we should not have anything to worry about.’

Jamie Richards and Rory Prentice were signed from Liphook & Ripsley and Hambledon respectively and both will be pushing for a debut.

But Ankers has kept faith in the majority of the squad that got promotion last season with a view to the club’s future.

He said: ‘The idea was to trust the lads that got us up and build on it in the right areas.

‘We are looking at the long-term future of the club.’

Elsewhere in the premier division, Ventnor travel to St Cross Symondians.

In division two, Portsmouth, who were beaten by Havant last weekend in the ECB National Cup, visit Sparsholt.

Havant II make the trip to Totton & Eling II.

In division three, Waterlooville get their Southern League campaign up and running against Portsmouth & Southsea.

While it’s a derby, it’s also a vital game for both sides, especially Lewis Russell’s Portsmouth & Southsea, who have played twice and lost both games this term.

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