Purbrook launch their bicentennial season with an attractive Hampshire League division one derby against Portsmouth & Southsea at Purbrook Heath.
Home skipper Martin Lee is aiming to make it a season to remember by building on last season’s fifth-place finish.
Their 2014 summer ended with six straight wins and Lee is hoping to continue that momentum.
Australian Jacob Wilson, who made a huge impact for the club last term, has returned to Brisbane but Purbrook have replaced him with New Zealander Ben Skilton.
The 19-year-old, from Wellington, has played district cricket back home and Lee is already convinced he will do a good job for them.
‘Apart from our new overseas player, we are virtually the same team,’ said the skipper.
‘Ben will come in as an all-rounder, opening the batting and bowling for us.
‘We are still a fairly young team and this will only be my second year in charge.
‘After a poor start last season we picked up and that was down to every single player contributing.
‘There were no stars as such, it was a real team effort.
‘We only used five bowlers, which was a strength, and they all kept it very tight.
‘As a team we will benefit from having another year of experience under our belt.
‘We all know how to play and what our jobs are.
‘It is our 200th year of cricket on the Heath.
‘That is some achievement for the club and hopefully we can make it a special year.’
Newly-appointed Portsmouth & Southsea captain Kieron Dunstan faces a different problem with his St James Hospital side relegated from the Southern Electric Premier League last summer.
A final-day defeat condemned the Locksway Road outfit to the drop after two years at the higher level.
For Dunstan, it is a case of rebuilding confidence back in the top flight of the Hampshire League.
‘We were disappointed to get relegated because with just two more wins we could have finished mid-table,’ said the new skipper.
‘A number of games were lost by narrow margins.
‘Our bowling attack – led by Jonathan Willey and Chris Turrell – were up there with the best in the league.
‘We know we are coming back to a league containing a number of strong teams and it won’t be easy.
‘Our target is to improve our consistency and make sure we turn the 50-50 games into wins.
‘If we can get over the line in those games then we will be okay.’
Dunstan doesn’t have the luxury of an overseas player this term.
But he has drafted in Royal Navy coach Paul Barsby over the winter.
Barsby has already set to work with the squad on getting a winning mentality.
‘We have worked hard and hopefully can get off to a good start to restore some confidence,’ added Dunstan.
Purbrook: Martin Lee, Ben Skilton, Alan Mengham, Sean Figgins, Josh Spiers, Clark Harding, Andy Holder, Jim Amis, Aaron Dean, Matt McGlinchey, Joe Hampton
Portsmouth & Southsea: Jack Davies, Matt Smith, Chrishan Patel, Matt Benfield, Tom Benfield, Rob Evans, Anthony Shore, Matthew Williams, Kieron Dunstan, Chris Turrell, Jonathan Willey