Purbrook set sights on promotion

Purbrook bowler Aaron Dean has taken nine wickets from his first two games of the new season

Purbrook bowler Aaron Dean has taken nine wickets from his first two games of the new season

James Vince will no longer captain Hampshire for County Championship matches.  Picture: Sarah Standing

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Competition for places is the name of the game at Purbrook – and captain Martin Lee couldn’t be happier.

He believes the present squad is the strongest since he took charge three years ago, and won’t rule out a Hampshire League division one promotion push.

Traditionally, slow starters Purbrook have won their opening two games, which Lee is hoping is a good omen.

Tomorrow they entertain struggling Totton & Eling II at Purbrook Heath and will be disappointed not to chalk up a third-successive win.

‘For the first time in a few years I have had to drop people down to the second team,’ said Lee.

‘In the past couple of seasons some players have almost been guaranteed their place.

‘That isn’t the case any more and everyone is looking over their shoulder at players challenging for their place.

‘It means that players have to keep on their toes and perform consistently.

‘If we want to consider being promoted, players will have to do the business on a regular basis.’

One player Lee might find it impossible to drop at the moment is opening bowler Aaron Dean.

The 27-year-old has taken nine wickets in the first two games and looks in fine form.

After a couple of seasons of bowling cross-seam, he has gone back to seam up and that appears to be paying off.

‘Aaron hasn’t always been the luckiest of bowlers,’ added Lee.

‘He has bowled well in the past without getting the wickets he deserved.

‘It looks like he is getting some of his confidence back.

‘He is always an awkward customer for the batsmen to deal with and they can never feel totally in against him.’

Overseas player Ben Michel has shown some good ability with the bat while still looking to fulfil his potential with the ball.

The 19-year-old from Christchurch already has one 50 to his name but is working on making an impact with his left-arm spin bowling.

Purbrook opened up with a comfortable victory at Salisbury II and followed that by winning a closer affair against OT’s & Romsey.

‘We did our best not to win our second game but eventually won by 30 runs,’ said the captain.

‘Everyone has chipped in so far, with our top-six batsmen getting starts.

‘We bat a long way down the order, with Aaron already getting a 50 batting at number eight.

‘He could easily bat a few places higher if needed.’

Lee is determined to see his team make the most of their good start

He admitted it is unusual for his team not to be playing catch-up after the opening games.

‘We usually lose three or four of our opening games,’ he added.

‘So it makes a pleasant change to get out of the blocks quickly.’

Purbrook: James Holder, Brad Mengham, Josh Spiers,

Sean Figgins, Ben Michel, Clark Harding, Martin Lee, Aaron Dean, James Gurney, Matthew McGlinchey, Sameen Mahboob

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