Derby clash is vital

Matt Benfield Picture: Keith Woodland
Matt Benfield Picture: Keith Woodland
Action from the 2000 match between Hampshire and Kent - the last played at Burnaby Road

WATCH: Dave Allen's First XI memories of Hampshire cricket in Portsmouth

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Portsmouth & Southsea insist their relegation survival does not depend on beating Waterlooville tomorrow.

Lewis Russell’s side have given themselves hope of avoiding the drop from Southern Electric division three with an upturn in results lately.

Two straight narrow defeats have left them second from bottom ahead of what looks like a must-win game against their neighbours tomorrow.

But all-rounder Matt Benfield insists the fight goes on, even if they come up short again.

Benfield said: ‘It’s certainly not over if we don’t win this one.

‘There are teams out there that we know we can beat.

‘It’s just about getting that performance on the day.

‘If we win this one, it would give us a lot of belief.

‘We need to beat the teams around us. It could come down to that.

‘The league is so tight.

‘The last couple of games have been really close.

‘We lost by five runs at Bashley and three runs last week against Basingstoke.

‘There is not much between the bottom four or five teams and we have to take advantage of that against Waterlooville.’

In the premier division, Burridge host Lymington after their five-wicket defeat to St Cross last week.

Rick Ankers’ side need to avoid defeat to ensure the New Forest club stay beneath them in the table as they stay on course to preserve their top-flight status.

The race to join them next season is hotting up in division one with Sarisbury Athletic starting to fire.

David Banks’ men beat Hook & Newnham by two wickets last week, before they eased through against Paultons to reach the semi-finals of the T20 Cup 24 hours later.

They join Havant, Lyminton and South Wilts with the draw to be made this weekend.

But first, their attentions turn to tomorrow’s trip to Andover to continue their winning run.

Elsewhere in division one, Hambledon travel to Hook & Newnham after their gutsy effort ended in defeat to Basingstoke last weekend.