Services need home comforts again

Matt Easton
Matt Easton
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MATT EASTON wants United Services to turn their Burnaby Road headquarters into a fortress in Hampshire League division one this summer.

Services host New Milton II looking to get off the mark after losing their opener at Rowledge II by three wickets.

Easton believes winning their home games can provide the foundation for a good season.

‘We want to make it difficult for teams to come to Burnaby Road and beat us,’ said Easton.

‘If we can turn our ground into a bit of a fortress then it will stand us in good stead.

‘On the whole we had a pretty good record on our own ground last season and must look to keep that going.

‘Though we lost our opening game away from home we had what could be termed a good loss’ in that we picked up a decent number of points.

‘It was still disappointing to lose but if it is going to happen, if you pick up points it keeps you in the running.

‘These early games are quite important as teams look to build up some momentum.

‘Being our first home game we are all looking forward to it.’

Services will be hoping opening batsman Mark Toogood can continue where he left off in the opening game when he hit an imperious unbeaten 124 runs.

It was a fantastic way to start the season playing some classic orthodox shots while punishing bad balls at the same time.

The good news for Services is Toogood, who recently left the Navy, should be available more for them this summer.

He has a new opening partner in Seshadin Nadathur who looks a tidy, organised acquisition.

The pair put on a solid 66 runs for the first wicket at Rowledge.

Easton is happy to have a long batting line-up.

This includes the experienced Gary Hounsome providing some solid power in the middle-order.

He did just that at Rowledge, contributing 38 runs after Services lost a few quick wickets.

Those kind of knocks will be important for the team and can help to lift everyone.

‘Gary has been playing in this league longer than I have been alive and brings valuable experience,’ added the skipper.

Services are still without two of their front-line strike bowlers Fraser Quirke and Jonathan Parker.

Both players are unavailable but Easton, though, can call on the disciplined bowling of Andy Lilley and has Eamonn Devine back for his first outing of the season.

Young seam bowler Aman Jain is also getting a chance to bed into the side.

Easton is looking forward to bringing more players back into the mix as well and it should set the team up for a good season ahead.

He added: ‘We still have a number of players to come back so that gives us added strength in depth.

‘It is a good position to be in and it means there will be good competition for places.’

UNITED SERVICES: Toogood, Nadathur, Easton, May, Hounsome, Dixon, Collegian, Jayasinghe, Lilley, Jain, Devine