Mitchell steps in to fill breach

Stand-in Portsmouth skipper Jamie Mitchell

Stand-in Portsmouth skipper Jamie Mitchell

Nic McMurray

Burridge stepped up to turn form book around

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Jamie Mitchell is determined to savour the taste of victory as Portsmouth captain and turn disaster into triumph.

Mitchell has assumed command temporarily at St Helens while regular skipper James Scott starts a new business venture.

But he doesn’t have a great record as captain after a heavy defeat last season in his one-and-only game in charge – plus an eight-run loss to Bashley (Rydal) II last weekend, which saw the club knocked off the top of the Southern Electric division three table by Havant II.

Portsmouth, however, need the right response for tomorrow’s trip to Fair Oak to get their promotion quest back on the rails and the winless skipper can break his duck.

Mitchell smiled: ‘I did it (the captaincy) for one game last season and it went disastrously.

‘But that was a lot like last season, which wasn’t very enjoyable because we weren’t particularly competitive.

‘It’s a different atmosphere this year so it wasn’t so much of a problem when I was asked to do it again.

‘I’ve been captain twice and we’ve lost both games, so it’s not a great record at present!

‘But hopefully we can put that right this weekend at Fair Oak.

‘We need a good response.’

Mitchell is normally a dependable opening batsman but has been short of runs so far this term.

But he believes age has played its part in his temporary promotion.

He said: ‘The captaincy is something you endure rather than enjoy.

‘I guess I’m just one of the older guys there so I don’t mind babysitting the side.

‘I don’t mind doing the on-field stuff but it’s all of the off-field stuff you have to get used to doing.

‘I’m happy to do it for as long as I’m needed but hopefully Jamie (Scott) is back soon.’

While a trip to Fair Oak represents a good opportunity to get back to winning ways, Havant II will be looking to stay top of the pile with a home clash against St Cross II, who have struggled so far this term.

But Mitchell believes the division three promotion race will offer plenty of opportunities for all of the challenging sides.

‘I don’t think it was the end of the world that we were knocked off the top,’ said Mitchell.

‘There will be plenty of twists and turns to come over the course of the season.

‘I know Havant II have only lost once but I don’t think they looked so strong that they will go the rest of the season unbeaten.

‘Most teams are looking for that bit of consistency and we are no different in that respect.

‘But we have got good players and we’ll be stronger this week with Dave Henderson and Matt Shaw back.’

Portsmouth & Southsea, meanwhile, will bid to arrest an alarming run of results with a home clash against Trojans.

Dave Tiller’s side are second from bottom in the division with just one win so far – and that was against Bournemouth II who have lost every game this season.

But last year’s Hampshire League champions have come close to securing wins without quite getting over the line.

They will know they need a win to get some belief back in the side and begin their climb away from relegation trouble.

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