Waterlooville captain Jon Hudson insists his side still have a lot of hard work to do before they can finally lose their nearly-men tag.
Hudson leads Ville against Ryde at Rowlands Avenue tomorrow looking to chalk up a 10th-consecutive Hampshire League divison one win.
Despite being unbeaten to date, Hudson is keen to play down his team’s title prospects.
Waterlooville have been knocking on the door of promotion for the past few years but ended up missing out at vital times.
This season there is a belief they can make it but Hudson remains cautious.
‘We still have some tough games to play, including Ryde this weekend,’ said Hudson.
‘There isn’t a lot of difference between most of the teams in our league and we are determined not to get too carried away.
‘We have done well to win our first nine games but are not allowing ourselves to get too excited.
‘If we lose the next few games then it will all be wasted.
‘Our fate is in our own hands, though, and we have a great opportunity to go on and do well.
‘Ryde will present us with a tough test and we have to go into the game showing them maximum respect.’
Waterlooville became a little more battle-hardened last weekend when they were forced to dig deep in beating Ventnor II.
Batting first, they posted a below-par target of 220 runs to leave the home side confident they could knock ’Ville off their perch.
Hudson himself thought his side were probably 30 runs short of what they needed but Waterlooville raised their game in the field.
In the end, the visitors cruised to an 85-run win courtesy of some terrific bowling and fielding.
‘It was possibly the toughest game we’ve had for a couple of years,’ said Hudson. ‘We showed a good fighting spirit and must look to take that into all our games.
‘The key to our success so far is that everyone has contributed at some stage.
‘It is good to know we have players throughout the team who are capable of turning things around when it gets difficult.’
Overseas opening bat, South African Byron Haycock, has been a leading light so far, amassing more than 600 runs already but he has been ably supported by Alex Shephard and David Howe.
Howe has hit three 50s already batting at number five and his return to the club after a couple of season’s absence has ben a big boost.
Hudson feels his team are ready to return to the Southern Electric League where in the past they have been a club to be reckoned with.
‘We feel our natural place is back in the higher level after a tough few years,’ he said.
‘A lot of hard work has been put in to try to return the club to where they were. A win over Ryde will be important to maintain our momentum.’
Waterlooville: Byron Haycock, Jon Hudson,
Alex Lamont, Alex Shephard, David Howe, Max Goddard, Andrew Reynolds, Sam Hillman, John Burnett, Matt Cook, Tom Southall.