Portsmouth aiming to Hook vital victory

Fraser Hay. Picture: Mick Young (160771-12)
Fraser Hay. Picture: Mick Young (160771-12)
Action from the 2000 match between Hampshire and Kent - the last played at Burnaby Road

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PORTSMOUTH are looking to give themselves a lift by beating Hook & Newnham Basics in their Southern League division one clash tomorrow.

It has been a difficult last month for Rich Locke’s side who have dropped to fourth after being the early season leaders.

The third-placed visitors will present a stern test as Portsmouth look to regain some momentum.

In the last four weeks Locke’s side have lost twice and seen two games abandoned without a ball being bowled.

One of those was in unfortunate circumstances when a car travelling to the game at Totton & Eling was involved in a crash.

Thankfully the four Portsmouth players involved walked away without serious injury but they were badly shaken up by the experience.

Ishi Ahmad and Rajeev Verma, who were sat in the back of the car, were taken to hospital to have neck and back injuries checked over.

Both players were ruled out when Portsmouth returned to action with a 24-run home defeat against Rowledge.

Locke admits the disruption of the last month has been frustrating for all concerned.

He said: ‘It has been a difficult last month with a lack of continuity impacting upon our progress.

‘A lack of availability and some indifferent performances have not helped either.

‘The car crash situation was particularly upsetting.

‘Against Rowledge we were missing a few bowlers but bowled with a lot of good discipline and backed it up with some excellent fielding.

‘Ultimately, though, our batting let us down – particularly the top five.

‘We need to show a lot more patience and restraint.

‘The longer we spend at the crease the more the runs will come.’

Locke is relieved to have a number of players back, including Ahmad, Will Smitherman, Harry Collier, wicketkeeper Alex Hammond and spinner Andy Marsh.

Locke is also encouraged by the signs that overseas player Fraser Hay is starting to adapt to the English conditions.

The Australian has been scoring lots of runs playing his midweek cricket with Hampshire’s second team this summer.

‘Fraser is showing a lot of promise and is learning his trade in foreign conditions,’ said Locke.

‘The signs are there and he has shown what he is capable of with Hampshire.

‘He is his own worst critic and he knows he needs to transfer his midweek performances to the weekend.

‘With pitches starting to dry out the conditions are becoming more familiar to him.’

PORTSMOUTH: Rich Locke, Fraser Hay, Jack Marston, Will Smitherman, Harry Collier, James Christian, Vikram Dawson, Alex Hammond, Andy Marsh, Ishi Ahmad, Reuben McArdle