‘Dream team’ have Tiller on title alert

Ash Wallace, along with Lee Evans, has made a telling contribution to Portsmouth & Southsea's bid to become county division one champions
Ash Wallace, along with Lee Evans, has made a telling contribution to Portsmouth & Southsea's bid to become county division one champions

Services out to break new ground in survival bid

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Unbeaten league leaders Portsmouth & Southsea can tighten their grip at the top of Hampshire division one by seeing off visitors Rowledge II at St James’ Hospital.

Dave Tiller’s side are setting the early pace, with five straight wins under their belt.

Displaying some awesome firepower in their top-order batting, they have blown opponents away and look like they will take some stopping.

Tiller admits the key to their success so far has been the new opening partnership of Ash Wallace and Lee Evans.

Both arrived at the club at the start of the season – Wallace from South Africa and Royal Marine Evans from Manchester.

And opening partnerships of 177 against Midhurst, 170 against Waterlooville and more than a hundred against Fareham & Crofton has left Tiller purring.

‘They are a captain’s dream,’ said Tiller.

‘Ash has taken the headlines with big unbeaten scores but Lee has been just as effective.

‘He has made a number of fifties and sixties without going on to get the bigger scores.

‘Lee also boasts an unbeaten 50 at Lord’s this summer, playing for the Royal Navy in a t20 competition against the army.

‘He is a marine based on HMS Illustrious and we were recommended to him by Dave Upton, last year’s captain, who has gone back to South Africa.

‘The lad was playing a good level of cricket in Manchester but being in the Dockyard he was looking for a club. Luckily, it was us that he came to.

‘Being a marine means he has to spend some time down in Lympstone in Devon but, up until now, he has been travelling back to play for us.

‘Like Ash, he is very correct technically and accumulates runs at a good rate.

‘Even good opening batsmen often give chances early on in their innings but these two, up until now, haven’t done that.

‘They have given us an excellent start to every innings so far and we have lost only three wickets all season.

‘Our middle and lower-order batsmen haven’t even had to put their pads on yet.

‘The test will come when, or if, our openers do get out, then we will see what the rest of us are made of.’

Portsmouth & Southsea will start as favourites to beat Rowledge II who have lost twice already this season, but Tiller remains wary.

‘We are looking for another win but you never know what you might get against second teams,’ added Tiller.

‘Sometimes they can strengthen with players from the senior team.

‘Even if that is the case, we are in a confident mood going into the game.’

Harsh Patel and Rush Patel return after their late call-off last weekend.

Portsmouth & Southsea: Ash Wallace, Lee Evans, Matt Benfield, Harsh Patel, Rush Patel, Ashley Foukes, Matt Smith, Alex Fletcher, Dave Tiller, Dean Wilson, Jon Willey.