Portsmouth & Southsea could swerve the drop

Matt Benfield. Picture: Sarah Standing
Matt Benfield. Picture: Sarah Standing
Jonny Bairstow, right, thanks skipper Eoin Morgan. Picture: Neil Marshall

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Portsmouth & Southsea go into the final weekend of the Southern Electric Premier League division three campaign unsure of their relegation fate.

The St James’ Park outfit are second from bottom of the table and have little chance of catching the team above them as they travel to basement boys Trojans.

That position would normally see them relegated to Hampshire League division one.

But they were granted a stay of execution last year when United Services dropped out of the league and they could yet be handed another lifeline as the standard of Fair Oak’s pitch has come under intense scrutiny and could yet see them thrown out.

With a possibility of just one relegation place, that could make it even more vital to avoid the bottom position.

All-rounder Matt Benfield said: ‘We got away with it last year when United Services dropped out of the league.

‘Ideally, you would like to know what you have to do on your last game of the season.

‘Mathematically, I think we could catch the team above but it’s very unlikely.

‘And there are also rumours going about that there may be only one team relegated because of Fair Oak’s pitch.

‘We don’t know what will happen so we just have to go there, win and then hope for the best.’

After two straight wins, Portsmouth & Southsea are in form but it has come a little too late to save themselves.

But after finishing second from bottom last season as well, Benfield believes the team is improving.

He said: ‘Last year, we were losing games convincingly but this year we are a lot closer.

‘We have beaten teams who are up near the top.

‘So I don’t think we are a million miles away as a team.

‘Even if we go down, if we can keep these players together, it should send us into next year with a bit of confidence.’

Their hopes of a last-day win could be boosted by former Hampshire man David Griffiths, who is set to be available.

Waterlooville finish off an impressive first season at this level with a home clash against South Wilts II.