PORTSMOUTH & Southsea captain Kieran Dunston is urging his players to maintain the team ‘buzz’ ahead of their Hampshire League division one test at Burridge II tomorrow.
Dunston’s men returned to winning ways with a much-needed derby win at Portchester last time out to stop the rot and avoid a third successive defeat.
The skipper wants to see his team build on their latest win and renew their bid to challenge at the top.
After being relegated from the Southern League at the end of last season, Portsmouth are still struggling to find a level of consistency.
‘Winning at Portchester was important to us because another defeat would have been soul destroying,’ said Dunston.
‘It is a victory that can hopefully take us forward for the rest of the summer.
‘In our opening couple of games there was a buzz about the team and a great sense of camaraderie in everything we did.
‘Then we went flat for a couple of games and ended up losing.
‘It was frustrating because in both those defeats we got ourselves into winning positions, only to throw it away.
‘Maybe it was a bit of a hangover from last season when we did the same.
‘Against Ryde we were 100 for one before ending up 180 all out.
‘Our middle order frankly let us down, but at Portchester they bounced back under the pressure and made the difference.’
Tom Benfield returns to strengthen the batting for the trip to equally-inconsistent Burridge – and Dunston is also happy to have Mike Patey and Sam Treagus back in the fold.
Patey has returned after a spell out of the game and he showed his quality by taking four for 20 against Portchester – virtually clean-bowling the home sides’ middle-order.
Treagus is back in the fold after a three-year absence travelling around America.
He also showed few ill-effects from his travels by just missing out on his fifty in the derby, finishing on 49 not out.
Hard-hitting batsman Matt Smith is also showing his commitment by travelling down from London each weekend to play.
‘We are still a relatively young side with an average age of around 23,’ added Dunston.
‘Last week we virtually had to go back to basics to make sure we got things right.
‘It was refreshing and now we have to ensure that we value our wicket a lot more and keep bowling in the right areas.
‘That will be the key and if we can do that then we can be successful.’
The home side are also keen to achieve greater consistency, with their start virtually mirroring that of their visitors.
Skipper Ian Hardcastle was pleased to see his team find their winning formula against basement team Hayling Island last Saturday.
‘It was crucial to get our promotion charge back on track,’ said Hardcastle.
The captain is away this weekend and Cameron White takes charge of the reins.
PORTSMOUTH & SOUTHSEA: Jack Davies, Steve Clements,
Matt Smith, Matt Benfield, Tom Benfield, Mike Patey, Sam Treagus, Rob Evans, Ben Saunders, Chris Turrell, Kieran Dunston