David Banks has revealed his relief that Sarisbury Athletic will be rewarded for 10 years of hard work as they finally get the chance to make their Southern Electric Premier division home bow tomorrow.
Sarisbury earned promotion to the top flight last season on the proviso that their ground was extended to meet league regulations after several years of seeing their progress blocked.
It will be a relief to finally get out there on our home groundDavid Banks
The works were finally carried out over the winter but disaster struck in pre-season when a large amount of sand was dumped on the outfield by the contractors, preventing them from playing at Allotment Road in their opening fixtures.
But all being well, they will host Ventnor tomorrow as the skipper leads the first team out on to their own stomping ground for the first time this season.
Banks said: ‘It will be a relief to finally get out there on our home ground.
‘We’ve played three away games and it will hopefully be a great day for the club with a decent crowd.
‘The club has been working towards playing premier division cricket there for the past 10 years so it’s finally going to happen – we hope!
‘It’s still not ideal, but it’s playable.
‘I don’t think the umpires will say it’s unfit. Our seconds played there last week and they said they didn’t really notice.
‘It’s just a bit of an early-season outfield.’
Sarisbury have had a decent start to the season with one tie and one win but came unstuck last weekend with a 22-run loss to Lymington.
And Banks has admitted his frustrations that it could have been a better opening.
He said: ‘We could have been three wins out of three and that’s the annoying thing.
‘We had the tie against Alton, then beat the Academy and lost by 22 runs last week and we still had 13 overs to go.’
Sarisbury are without leading bowler Dan Goldstraw but Mark Miller returns.
Banks said: ‘Goldie has been bowling beautifully – he has taken eight wickets in the past two games.
‘He is a big miss but Mark Miller will come in.
‘We’ve still got plenty of options so someone has to step up.’
Ventnor, meanwhile, have had the tougher fixtures having lost to both South Wilts and Havant so far, although they did beat St Cross comprehensively.
And skipper Mark Holmes expects his side to continue to improve as the season goes on.
He said: ‘We’ve had a tough start and probably played the best two teams in the league in our first three games.
‘But I am looking for a mid-table finish this season.
‘We haven’t been able to put our strongest side out yet with a few players having other commitments.
‘But we have got a few players back for this week and then we will get some others back in the next few weeks.
‘That should strengthen us quite a lot and I should be able to get the side I want out on the pitch.’
Young Portsmouth Grammar School spinner Jadon Buckeridge will line up for the Islanders.
Neil Westhorpe also takes over the captaincy for one game with Holmes unavailable.