Services out to break new ground in survival bid

Matt Benfield. Picture: Allan Hutchings (150997-849)

Portsmouth & Southsea face test of nerve

Fareham’s young guns still have much to offer

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UNITED SERVICES are looking to record a first for the season at St Cross Symondians III.

The Hampshire County Division One side are out to pick up back-to-back wins for the first time this season.

The four-wicket win over Burridge II lifted Matt Easton’s side out of the bottom three last weekend.

Easton is backing his team to get the win to prevent them falling back into the relegation positions.

He said: ‘We know that we need to go out and do ourselves justice all over again.

‘If we don’t get another win it could mean last week’s effort will be wasted.

‘Having dragged ourselves out of the relegation hole the last thing we want to do is fall back into it.

‘We can take a lot of confidence from last week though.

‘It was what we have been striving and working for all summer.

It was all three aspects of the game - batting, bowling and fielding - coming together for us.

‘We showed that we have the character in the team and that it can be done.

‘It was a good all-round performance.

‘Now, with two games left we know our fate is in our own hands.’

Services make one change with top-order batsman Sam Allison returning from holiday.

Easton however is without the services of influential bowler Fraser Quirke who is away.

Portsmouth & Southsea can take a step closer to the title by beating Burridge II at St James’ Hospital.

Bishop’s Waltham can consolidate their mid-table position by beating lowly Ventnor who travel to Albany Road.

In Division Two, Bedhampton will view the visit of Sway to Bidbury Mead as a must-win game.

A three-run defeat at Andover II saw Alex Whitfield’s team drop to third in the league.

‘The top there go up but it is all very tight,’ said Mariners captain Whitfield.

‘There are five teams in the mix.

‘We want to make sure that we don’t waste all the hard work put in.

‘We have to get our heads down and play like we know we can - then we should be alright.

‘If we win our final two games then we will be promoted.

‘I have every confidence we can do it and all the team are hungry for it.’

The home side are boosted by the return of Whitfield and Martin Hovey who missed the Andover defeat.