RICH LOCKE praised the way Portsmouth handled the pressure to come away with a vital Southern League division one win at Rowledge.
Portsmouth eased themselves over the line for a three-wicket success but not before enduring some tense moments.
With just seven points separating four teams in the relegation dogfight Portsmouth still have it all to do to stay up.
With their final three games all against top sides Locke knows his side must be at their best.
‘We handled the pressure really well considering we knew that this was a must win game for us,’ said Locke.
‘It is good to see us step up and maintain our skill levels despite the pressure.
‘This should stand us in good stead in our remaining games.
‘We have shown we have the ability to get over the line in tight situations.
‘It isn’t good for the old ticker though.
‘There is no reason why we can’t get the results we need in our final games.
‘We have already beaten Basingstoke and Calmore this season but had a bit of an aberration against Hook.
‘Our main problem has been inconsistency and we have to make sure we put in the performances from now on.’
Locke won the toss and invited Rowledge to bat first.
Aussie, Fraser Hay bowled well up top and soon removed both the home openers.
Rowledge were in big trouble at 61 for seven but their overseas player batted through for an unbeaten century helping them to 204 for nine.
‘With so much on the game we knew that it wasn’t going to be easy,’ said Locke.
Portsmouth lost Locke early on but James Christian (22) and Jordan Palmer-Goddard (29) led the fight back.
It looked comfortable all the time Hay (68) was at the wicket but when he was caught out it triggered a mini collapse.
At 164 for seven Portsmouth still had plenty of work to do but fortunately the experience of Vikram Dawson (28 not out) came to the fore.
‘Vikram and Prad Baines produced a really mature partnership to secure the win,’ said Locke.
‘It was a terrific all round performance from Vikram.
‘He is one of our senior players and that showed.’
Locke also praised the move of bringing in club stalwart Rick Marston in as team manager.
‘There is a lot of admin and other things needing doing before a game,’ said the skipper.
‘Rick was able to take some of those things away from me.
‘He has also been around many years and seen and done it all.
‘There are few eventualities he hasn’t come across.
‘It was good to be able to have him there to bounce a few ideas off.’