Easton wants Services to continue momentum

Purbrook captain Martin Lee    Picture: Mick Young

Purbrook out to build on promising start

Bishop's Waltham captain Dan Wheeler  Picture: Allan Hutchings

Waltham pay price for poor preparation

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United Services Portsmouth captain Matt Easton has called on his side to keep the momentum going as they host Totton & Eling at Burnaby Road tomorrow in Hampshire League division one.

Services lifted the division two title last term to bounce back from relegation at the first time of asking.

And after a morale-boosting victory at Alton II on the opening day last weekend, Easton is keen to continue the winning feeling by making the most of home advantage.

He said: ‘We made a great start last weekend, I was really chuffed we kept the momentum going from last year – that was key for us.

‘There is a really good feeling around the club at the moment.

‘After a couple of seasons of being down in the doldrums, we feel like we have come back up and are doing ourselves proud.

‘We just hope to continue that.

‘It was nice to get the win away from home but the key for us is to win the majority of our home games this season at will stand us in good stead.

‘We need to make this a tough place to come for the opposition.’

While Totton & Eling pose something of an unknown threat to Easton, he is confident his in-form squad can be a match for anybody on their day.

He said: ‘I haven’t played against Totton & Eling for a number of years so unfortunately I can’t remember too much about them from previous occasions.

‘Obviously they are going to be a decent side – there are no weak sides in the league.

‘But we are very fortunate in that we have a very balanced line-up.

‘We bat a long way down but have also got a lot of bowling options – both seam and spin.

‘As a result, we feel fairly confident we can adjust and adapt to most game situations.’

Services have benefited from a productive relationship with nearby University of Portsmouth, with students Sam Mallinson and Yashan Akila both impressing for the Burnaby Road outfit.

The duo will be in action tomorrow, with Easton keen to make the most of the ongoing partnership.

He said: ‘We are trying to build a good relationship with the university.

‘We have just been encouraging it – it’s a nice place to play cricket down at Burnaby Road and it is near the university, so getting some of the uni guys in and out is good for the club.

‘We have two chaps, a PhD student and top-order batsman Sam Mallinson and Yashan Akila who is a wicketkeeper and also a top-order batsman.

‘They will both play tomorrow.

‘We realise students are potentially not going to be permanent fixtures of the club but if we can commit them for two or three seasons with us, then brilliant – that is what we want.’

For the time being, though, Easton has set his sights on a top-five finish.

He added: ‘The ambition this season is to do as well as we can and finish as high as possible but with a realistic target of a top-five spot.

‘We would also like to narrow the gap between the first and second team and get the second team promoted.’

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