Sarisbury skipper Banks on team-mates

Archie Norris. Picture: Allan Hutchings (141727-424) PPP-140706-153821003

Archie Norris. Picture: Allan Hutchings (141727-424) PPP-140706-153821003

Hambledon's George Harding batting against St Cross. Picture Ian Hargreaves (170744-1)

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Sarisbury Athletic will have to make do without skipper Daivid Banks as they prepare for their most crucial game of the season.

The division one promotion-chasers, who are undefeated since the opening day of the season, host unbeaten league leaders New Milton.

While it’s not quite a promotion decider, it will certainly have a major bearing on which team eventually takes their place in the top flight next term.

But while Banks is unavailable and hands over the captaincy to Archie Norris, he has full faith in his charges.

Banks said: ‘Archie took over for the rest of last season when I broke my arm, so he knows exactly what he’s doing.

‘There is a good sense of continuity in that respect.

‘It’s a shame to miss it but I’m sure I will be keeping up with what goes on and will get a few text messages.’

While Banks insists Sarisbury will be treating it as a normal game, he also realises that defeat could leave his men with too much to do over the remaining weeks of the season.

He said: ‘This game has not really been mentioned too much until this week. Nobody is cranking it up.

‘Of course, we don’t want to lose because we would be two games behind with five to play.

‘But there will be twists and turns. It is not the defining game.

‘If we win this game, it doesn’t mean that we will win the league. You can’t take anything for granted.

‘I think it’s all about how we bat.

‘If we score more than 200, I feel confident in the side.

‘Nobody has scored a great deal of runs against us and our bowling unit is performing brilliantly.’

With Sarisbury’s long-awaited ground improvements to extend the boundary well on the way to completion, the club could take their place in the top flight – if they win the title.

Banks said: ‘Maybe it should be looked at. I think it should be two up, two down.

‘There are three or four grounds in the league that have the accreditation now and every other league is two up and two down.

‘It makes it even tougher to get promoted.’

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