Ian Turner is refusing to dwell on last season’s demotion as he prepares to lead Hambledon into battle in Southern Electric Premier League division two.
After finishing sixth in division one last term, the Dons were relegated because of the standard of their wicket.
Low ground grading by rival skippers prompted the league to step in following a few seasons of concern.
Turner has admitted his disappointment at the ruling.
But he is now determined to focus on the battles ahead – beginning with the trip to newly-promoted Tichborne Park tomorrow (1pm).
The left-arm spinner said: ‘At first there was some anger but that didn’t last long and now we’ve got to crack on with it.
‘There was a big difference between the umpires’ marks and the opposition captains’ marks.
‘We tended to find if a team came up and lost, they would mark us pretty low, which is a bit pathetic.
‘Teams have to adapt to different conditions.’
Dan Hewitt and Joe Collings-Wells have since left the club for Burridge.
Wicketkeeper Will Bond is back from travelling and Lee Carroll, who spent much of last term on the sidelines with a broken thumb, is hoping to make up for lost time.
Turner is also likely to give the club’s young talents, such as Spencer Le Clercq, a chance to shine.
He added: ‘Our pitch has never been dangerous.
‘But we’ve now got a heavier roller, which we hope will improve the wicket.
‘We’ve done what they have asked, we’ve got some volunteers and it would be very annoying if we did well enough to get promoted and were then told we couldn’t go up.
‘It’s another battle to look forward to.’
Portsmouth, meanwhile, are targeting a promotion charge.
They begin with a home clash against Paultons.
Skipper Dave Henderson said: ‘Last season we were stabilising – as the youngest team in the division. This year it is all about promotion.’
Rich Locke has joined from Portchester, while Vikram Dawson and Australian Pat Burns have returned for a second stints at the club.