Portsmouth and Sarisbury aim to guarantee safety

Vikram Dawson will skipper Portsmouth. Picture: Keith Woodland
Vikram Dawson will skipper Portsmouth. Picture: Keith Woodland
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Both captains are ruled out as Portsmouth host Sarisbury Athletic in a Southern League division one contest at St Helens.

Home skipper Rich Locke is attending a friends wedding and his Sarisbury counterpart Matt Journeaux is on a stag do.

Vikram Dawson takes over the reins for Portsmouth and Ricky Rawlins does likewise for the visitors.

Both teams are raring to go after a two-week enforced lay-off because of the weather.

They also have the added incentive of knowing a win will virtually guarantee division one status for another season.

‘We have had a stuttering season so far not helped by the recent rain,’ said Locke.

‘The consistency that we needed to show has proved elusive to achieve.

‘It came at a time when we were looking to build on a couple of wins.

‘Also losing experienced bowler Jed Whitecross with a back injury at the end of May was a blow.

‘He is a very useful operator at this level.

‘We are virtually safe already but, apart from the top three teams who have broken away, it is a tight league.

‘A win should guarantee our safety.’

Portsmouth are hoping they can get on a really good run and show their top form.

‘With four weeks left after this we want to make sure that we finish the season strongly,’ Locke added.

‘There is no reason why we can’t win all our remaining games.

‘We showed against Basingstoke that we are capable of beating the teams at the top.

‘Sarisbury is a bit of a local derby and that always gives added spice.

At one stage Sarisbury looked favourites for relegation.

But three consecutive wins have lifted them away from the danger area.

They know they probably need a couple more wins to be safe.

In the premier division Havant have an opportunity to maintain pressure on the top two as they travel to basement-side Andover.

Ben Walker’s team are just 11 points adrift of leaders South Wilts.

They know that a good finish to the season could see them retain their premier division crown.

They will also be keen to bounce back from their 14-run regional area T20 defeat at Wimbledon last weekend.

Sixth-placed Burridge visit Hampshire Academy who lay one place below them in the league.