Portsmouth batsmen try to avoid ducks

Portsmouth's St Helens ground is under water
Portsmouth's St Helens ground is under water
James Vince. Picture: Sarah Standing (170455-8793)

Vince relishing ‘second chance’

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Portsmouth Cricket Club are facing a hefty repair bill after the recent weather left their pitch under water.

Bowlers tend to prefer some moisture in the pitch to get the ball swinging and seaming but the unrelenting rain has destroyed the club’s artificial surface and junior square, while the strong winds in the storms saw the sea water encroach.

The training nets have also been damaged and the repair bill is now estimated at around £6,000 for last season’s Southern Electric Premier League division three champions.

After England’s disastrous Ashes tour of Australia, few have cast their mind towards this season’s domestic cricket just yet.

But many local clubs have been back in training for several weeks and Portsmouth skipper Dave Henderson has revealed the St Helens outfit are desperate to find the money to get their ground ready for the new campaign.

Henderson said: ‘The ground was flooded. It looked like a lake and the nets were buckled.

‘Then the artificial pitch and the junior square is totally ruined.

‘We’ve had estimates that it will cost us £6,000 to fix it and that is a lot of money to a club like ours. It’s certainly not ideal.

‘We will have to ask members for donations and take things from there, but we need to find some money from somewhere.’

While areas of the pitch were submerged, the St Helens ground is expected to recover.

Henderson said: ‘The groundsman has told us the outfield should be fine in the long term and, as the square is raised, it should be okay – but the junior pitch is ruined.

‘You know it’s not going to be exactly cricket weather over the winter but you don’t expect your pitch to be turned into a lake.

‘It’s going to take a lot of work to get it ready for the summer.

‘We are training indoors at the moment but we could do with some dry weather. Everybody could!’

Away from the pitch, Portsmouth have not wasted time in recruiting an overseas player for the campaign.

Bowler Pat Burns, who hails from the same Sydney-based Sutherland club as Aussie bowler Glenn McGrath, has joined the ranks.

The 22-year-old has taken 79 wickets at 17.39 in for his club in Grade cricket.

Portsmouth have also brought in batsman Harry Collier from Ryde, Jake Irwin-Brown from West Wittering and University of Portsmouth student Andy Martin.

The club has set up a contact email address of portsmouthcrickethelp@gmail.com to raise funds for the repair costs.