IT’S not even June yet but Simon Creal insists it’s crunch time when Portsmouth and Gosport Borough meet in the harbour derby tomorrow.
Both sides are yet to win this season, with Portsmouth making a dreadful start to life in Southern Electric division three following last year’s shock relegation, with two defeats from their opening two games.
But Borough kicked off their own delayed campaign with a loss to Tichborne Park last weekend – and both clubs know they need a win to get their season up and running.
Gosport skipper Creal said: ‘There’s no point beating ourselves up just yet.
‘There has been some quite promising stuff but we let ourselves down in the field last week and dropped about six catches, which cost us 40 or 50 runs too many. That makes a big difference psychologically.
‘But I haven’t laid down the law – it’s a long, old season and there will be plenty of other opportunities for us.
‘Portsmouth haven’t had the greatest start but they are a good side.
‘We’ve had some good battles with them down the years but I don’t need to motivate anyone for a game against our local rivals.
‘It’s a crunch game and we both need a win.’
Portsmouth captain James Scott did not mince his words after seeing his side go down by 125 runs at United Services last Saturday, a week after a home loss to Calmore Sports.
And Portsmouth have turned to veteran seamer Tim Bailey to bolster their line-up.
Scott said: ‘I’ve got high hopes for a better weekend.
‘It’s been an awful start for us and it can only get better.
‘Every game is now an important game because we’re still looking for that top-10 finish.
‘Tim is not as quick as he was but he does have his moments!
‘He’s a better option than some who are available, let’s put it that way. He gives me something a little bit different.’
Gosport, meanwhile, have found themselves a replacement overseas player after Tom Gallop departed without playing a single game.
Fellow Australian Richard Huntington arrived in town this week and will be handed his debut, while Charlie Pennicott and Conor Regan also return.
Creal said: ‘I don’t know a lot about him (Huntington) but I know he is a top-order batsman and an off-spinner but he has arrived and seems to like it here so that’s a good start!
‘With what happened, we’ve been lucky enough to find someone to come at short notice and the league have been good in allowing us a replacement.
‘He’s champing at the bit to get started.’
PORTSMOUTH: Farshan Jemildar, Jamie Mitchell,
James Moon, Rob Jones, Alex Hammond, Jed Whitecross, James Scott, Dean Oliffe, Gary Rogers, Tim Bailey.
GOSPORT: Simon Creal, Mark Toogood, Lee Harrop,
Craig Stares, Tom Larner, Charlie Pennicott,
Richard Huntington, Conor Regan, Pete Robson,
Ben Erridge, Richie Edwards.