Hambledon remain positive in promotion push

Will Bond. Picture: Innes Marlow

Will Bond. Picture: Innes Marlow

Craig White. Picture: Neil Marshall

Collapse at Old Trafford disappoints coach White

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Hambledon skipper Will Bond has told his troops to stay positive in their crucial finale against Paultons at Ridge Meadow.

Victory over long-time Southern League division two table-toppers Trojans last week kept their hopes of promotion alive.

Bond has looked at the maths and insists the Dons can still overhaul second-placed Tichborne Park.

The hosts must first get the better of Paultons on home turf tomorrow.

And then attentions will turn to Tichborne, who welcome Trojans.

Bond said: ‘If we win and Tichborne lose then we have a good chance.

‘Our rivals have a difficult game at home against Trojans.

‘We are going into the final game in a positive frame of mind.

‘There is a feeling at the club that it is all still to play for.

‘If we can win well and the other results go our way, second place can still be ours.

‘We put in a really good performance to beat Trojans who have been top of the league for most of the summer.

‘It proves we deserve to be up where we are.

‘It is a pity we lost to Tichborne the week before.

‘I wasn’t there but by all accounts it was a close game that could have gone either way.

‘Of the five games we have lost, two or three of them have been close.

‘If we could have turned them around then we might already be promoted.

‘Whatever happens it has still been a good first year in charge for me.’

Hambledon make two changes – with seamers Rupert Hetherington and Rhidian Chapman unavilable.

They are replaced by Rob Atkins and Ian Turner.

Turner has been dragged out of first-team retirement after the second string’s Hampshire League campaign ended last weekend.

In division three, Havant II travel to Hursley Park needing points to avoid relegation.

The visitors start the day just two ahead of second-bottom Lymington II, who host Fair Oak.

Last week’s 23-run defeat at the hands of the New Forest side could still come back to haunt them.

After getting the better of league leaders Langley Manor in their last outing, Gosport Borough will be confident they can cross the Solent and beat bottom-club Ryde.

Waterlooville end the season with a tough test against second-placed St Cross Symondians at Rowlands Avenue.

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