Simon Creal believes Gosport Borough are on a steep learning curve as they adjust to their return to Southern Electric Premier League cricket.
The Borough skipper has seen his troops go down to narrow division three losses in consecutive weeks after a two-run reverse to Liphook & Ripsley last weekend and a six-run defeat to neighbours Portsmouth the week before.
But after promotion from the Hampshire League last term, Creal is keen to see his players learn to adapt to their new ultra-competitive surroundings quickly as they bid to bridge the gap – starting with their trip to Calmore Sports tomorrow.
Creal, whose side have yet to win this season, said: ‘It’s a learning curve but every week we are learning something different.
‘We’ve had a few things go against us so far, but it’s a long season and there are plenty of positives to take.
‘It wasn’t the nicest game of cricket (against Liphook & Riplsey).
‘The two teams were hard at it but it was a typical Southern Electric Premier League cricket match.
‘There were a lot of appeals going on and it became a bit of a messy game.
‘It’s tough to take when you come up two runs short.
‘After we bowled them out for 145, they knew they had to get under our skin a bit and that’s what they did.
‘They made it uncomfortable for us.
‘But it’s a good lesson for some of the younger players to learn.’
Borough certainly impressed with the ball last week but their run-chase came off the rails.
Creal said: ‘If you bowl a side out for 140-odd, they will do one of two things.
‘They will either go into their shells and you knock the runs off for fun in no time at all, or they try to get into you and get under your skin.
‘But it does prove to the youngsters that we’ve got that, no matter what score you post, there’s always the opportunity to bowl the opposition out yourselves.
‘We probably felt we had done three-quarters of the job at tea. But we didn’t really apply ourselves after that.
‘A couple of us got in – myself included – and you get to 20 and think “I shouldn’t give my wicket away”, and then you give your wicket away!
‘That’s where we have to learn to dog it out for a few overs and keep the opposition quiet.’
Creal, however, is not too downcast after seeing signs that his side are competitive.
He said: ‘I think there are still a lot of positives to take out of it.
‘We’ve bowled teams out two weeks on the trot, which is pleasing.
‘Some of our big guns haven’t scored any runs yet so when they start clicking, we should pick up some wins before too long.’
Mark Toogood faces a late fitness test on his calf but if he doesn’t recover in time, Mark Oxford will step in.
GOSPORT: Lee Harrop, Simon Creal, Craig Stares, Richard Partington, Tom Larner, Charlie Pennicott, Conor Regan, Pete Robson, Ben Erridge, Richie Edwards, Mark Toogood