Mariners focus on escape bid

Ben De Jong will be hoping to weigh in with a big score for Bedhampton. Picture: Sarah Standing (111785-4293)
Ben De Jong will be hoping to weigh in with a big score for Bedhampton. Picture: Sarah Standing (111785-4293)
James Vince. Picture: Sarah Standing (170455-8793)

Vince relishing ‘second chance’

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Bedhampton can move off the bottom of division one by beating local rivals Portchester at Bidbury Mead.

Two successive wins have boosted the Mariners’ hopes of avoiding relegation.

But the rain has put the brakes on their escape bid, with the past two weekends washed out.

Captain Stuart Gardner is adamant his side can pick up where they left off, though.

And he reckons Bedhampton have the firepower to see off tomorrow’s visitors.

‘With the league being so tight we are just one win away from getting out of the relegation zone,’ said the skipper.

‘Losing two games to the rain is disappointing because we had strong teams available for both.

‘This is a big game for us and everyone is keen to play.

‘Our batsmen have started to find their form – Dan Clark notched a century in the last game.

‘So I have no doubts in our ability to beat Portchester and start to climb the league.

‘A win will make a big difference.’

The home side undoubtedly have runs in their team, with Alex Whitfield showing signs he is adapting to his return after taking a break from cricket.

Whitfield hit a half century in his last game, while dangerous batsman Martin Hovey is due a big score.

Portchester have also struggled this summer and have just two wins to their name.

Captain Steve O’Neill has been bitterly disappointed and knows his side are in danger of being sucked into the relegation dogfight.

He is looking for a big improvement.

‘After we beat Purbrook and Locks Heath, I thought things had started to click,’ he said.

‘The awful weather since then has prevented us picking up any momentum, though.

‘We have only had ourselves to blame at times because we have not performed anywhere near our true potential.

‘This side is full of talent and ability but we have to turn up on the day and do the business. If we do that, then we are capable of finishing the season strongly and can still make a top-eight finish.’

The visitors make one change, with Scott Elson replacing Phil Vincent.

Bedhampton Mariners: Dan Clark, Alex Whitfield, Stuart Gardiner, Martin Hovey, Charlie Alsop, Ben De Jong, Ricky Harding, Sam Treagus, Alex Gardiner, Dave McFawn, Josh Young

Portchester: Tom Adams, Ritchie Locke, Ed Jordan, Curtis Locke, Paul Hungerford, Steve O’Neill, Craig Coward, Josh Young, David O’Neill, Scott Elson, Nathan Kiely