MATT JOURNEAUX regards Sarisbury Athletic’s Southern League division one top-of-the-table clash against Portsmouth at The Hollow tomorrow as a must-win game.
Journeaux, back after two weeks on school duty in France, believes it is a game his team cannot afford to lose if they are to mount a title challenge.
The Sarisbury skipper said: ‘We are very keen to put things right following our disappointing defeat at Rowledge.
‘If we can apply ourselves with the bat, then we are more than capable of getting a result.
‘Our fielding and bowling has been excellent so far this season.
‘We just need to apply ourselves a bit more in our batting.
‘Portsmouth have a good bowling attack but if we can cope with them then we are good enough to go on and win it.’
The home side are boosted by the return of vastly-experienced opening bowler Dan Goldstraw.
He returns after one warm-up game with the fourth team and needs just one wicket to reach 500 in the league.
Two other vastly-experienced figures, Pete Hammond and Shayne Freemantle have also returned to senior action in recent weeks.
‘Dan (Goldstraw) has been one of the best bowlers in the Southern League for years,’ said Journeaux.
‘He is 46 years old but he still moves the ball both ways, causing batsmen a lot of trouble.
‘If he puts in a good spell he can be a matchwinner.
‘Pete (Hammond) is potentially our best batsman and Shayne (Freemantle) is a very useful all-rounder.’
Portsmouth are in a confident mood, heading the table with five straight wins to their name.
Visiting captain Rich Locke insists his team are top of the league on merit but is expecting a stiff test from Sarisbury.
‘To be where we are after being promoted into this division is beyond our wildest dreams,’ said Locke.
‘At the same time we have confidence in ourselves and being at the top doesn’t scare us.
‘We have come through a couple of tight games and fingers crossed we can keep it going.
‘Sarisbury have a number of good players and we know we will be in for a tough time.
‘So far we have proved to be a tight unit and that has got us through.’
Portsmouth name an unchanged line-up from the one that beat Basingstoke & North Hants by four wickets in their last game.
Overseas recruit Fraser Hay is starting to adapt well.
The Aussie took four wickets for 40 runs against Basingstoke removing three of their top five batsmen.
‘Fraser (Hay) is a line and length bowler and our conditions suit him,’ said Locke.
‘He is getting the Duke balls that we use to talk a bit.’