Marston answers Portsmouth plea

Portsmouth stalwart Rick Marston has been drafted in to help Portsmouth in their crucial Southern League division one relegation battle at Rowledge tomorrow (1pm).

Marston will act as team manager for the day in a bid to take some of the pressure off captain Rich Locke.

Just seven points split five teams at the bottom – making it a real dogfight to avoid the final relegation spot.

Portsmouth start the day third from bottom and four points ahead of the hosts.

‘I am going along for this game to carry the bibs, cones and be the water carrier,’ said Rick Marston.

‘By doing those jobs it will enable Rich to focus on the cricket.

‘We are in a scrap with a number of teams still able to go down.

‘It makes things interesting and pretty tense with four games left.

‘In recent years we have been on an upwards trend – winning divisions three and then two.

‘We want to maintain that and believe we have the players good enough to play at this level.

‘It has just taken a couple of poor results to put us where we are.

‘The weather hasn’t been our friend either because we have lost both the games against bottom club Tichborne Park.

‘There is no guarantee we would have won them but we had a strong team out for both and fancied our chances.’

Portsmouth have not had an awful season – winning five and losing six of their games to date.

Normally that would have seen them comfortable in mid-table.

But division one has been particularly competitive this summer.

Every team has shown the ability to beat one another – with small margins often separating success and failure.

Portsmouth remain confident they possess the talent to stay up.

Overseas player Fraser Hay has proved he can be a match-winner with both bat and ball.

He is the fifth highest scorer in the entire league, with 482 runs.

Meanwhile, his 19 wickets put him eighth in the division.

Off-spinner Ethan Randell has continued his rise to establish himself in the side.

The University of Portsmouth student has 12 wickets at an average of 19.17, while his skill has ensured he has a big influence on matches.

Portsmouth are, however, missing the left-arm spin of Andrew Marston, who has left for Australia as part of his studies at Loughborough University.

‘A win at Rowledge would be good,’ added Rick Marston.

‘But at the same time a loss won’t be the end of the world.

‘We still have three more cup finals after it.

‘The good thing is our fate is in our own hands.’

Portsmouth: Christian, Palmer-Goddard, Locke, Marston J, Hay, Dawson, Hammond, Bains, McArdle, Randall, Collier

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