Waterlooville have put their faith in youth to get their promotion hopes back on track.
The Rowlands Avenue outfit looked certainties for Southern Electric Premier League division three promotion early in the campaign after a flying start took them to the top of the table.
But it’s been a dismal run of form in recent weeks with four defeats in five fixtures, which has seen them tumble down to fifth place.
Ville, however, are still in with a chance of going up if they can win at second-placed Trojans tomorrow.
And they are set to unleash 13-year-old pace bowler, Sonny Reynolds, for a first-team debut – when he will join 16-year-old brother Archie and wicketkeeping dad Andy in the ranks for the season-defining game.
Reynolds senior, who juggles his time as club chairman, a director at local firm V3 Recruitment, a handy wicketkeeper and father to four sons, revealed he had been persuaded that the time was right.
‘Max (Goddards, captain) has been wanting to play him and I was saying he was too young,’ said Reynolds.
‘There’s a bit of being a protective dad in there. Men’s cricket is very different to playing in the under-13s.
‘If a big, hairy bloke whacks him for a few boundaries, it’s a different game.
‘He has to be mentally strong and he thinks he is good enough, as all young lads do. But he is excited about it.
‘Archie is a spin bowler and I’ll be keeping wicket to both of them so it will be great fun.
‘If they play a part and help us to perform, that would be great.’
With Danny Durant ruled out with a back injury, Ville needed another bowling option and the skipper has no qualms about throwing in the talent.
Goddard said: ‘If you’re good enough, you’re old enough and I have no worries at all. He is about 6ft 2in and he certainly doesn’t look like he is only 13. I’m sure he’ll do well for us.’
The teenager is regarded as an exciting prospect by Hampshire and has been the leading wicket-taker in age-group cricket. And he is also on the national radar.
Reynolds added: ‘He went to Loughborough last year where young fast bowlers went for coaching.
‘He was clocked at 66mph and for that age-group he was the fastest in England. He is probably quicker now.
‘He has got loads of potential but he is only 13. He could get fed up with cricket in a year’s time.’
And the wicketkeeper still believes the club could yet get themselves back into promotion contention.
He said: ‘The wheels have come off.
‘We’ve been missing a few guys but every club has their injuries. It’s all gone a bit pear-shaped but we’re not out of it yet.
‘If we beat Trojans, we are right back in it again but we need to pull our socks up quickly. If we lose, we know it’s all over.’