Baptism of fire for Portsmouth

Portsmouth's Farshaan Jemildar. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (141304-3)
Portsmouth's Farshaan Jemildar. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (141304-3)
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Portsmouth suffered a reality check in their opening Southern Eletric Premier League division two encounter against Calmore Sports.

A disappointing performance saw the club slump to a 72-run defeat at St Helen’s Field.

Calmore gave their hosts a lesson in the basics and ran out easy winners in the end.

Home captain Dave Henderson knows his team will have to work harder if they are to succeed following promotion last term.

‘This is a reality check for us,’ said the Portsmouth skipper.

‘We won our last 12 games at the end of last season and maybe came into this a little over-confident.

‘Our problem was we failed to get the basics right.

‘Too may catches were dropped and we missed a couple of run outs.

‘Then when we batted we allowed Calmore to pin us down and we fell behind the run-rate. It was difficult to recover after that.’

Henderson also admitted he may have contributed to his team’s problems by deciding to bowl first after winning the toss.

‘I thought the pitch might still be wet from all the recent rain and would dry out as the game went on,’ said Henderson.

‘But the pitch played well throughout and maybe it would have been better if we had batted first.’

Portsmouth’s mistakes allowed the Calmore openers to put down a solid base with a 92-run first-wicket partnership.

Although the hosts’ new overseas acquisition, Australian Pat Burns, grabbed two for 47 and Harry Collier took two for 27, the visitors finished on 234 for seven from their 50 overs.

In reply, Portsmouth soon found themselves falling behind the run-rate and a realistic run-chase never materialised.

Collier (32) and Jordie Goddard (29 not out) provided brief resistance but the game was lost long before the end.

Portsmouth finished on 162 for nine, well short of the target.

But while he was disappointed, Henderson was far from despondent.

‘We had four 17-year-olds out there on Saturday and another two to come back in,’ said the skipper.

‘It is one of the youngest squads in our league and this year is all about consolidation.

‘We want to establish ourselves at this level, build for the future and maybe win the fair-play league.

‘I have no doubts that we are good enough to stay in this division.

‘We have our three Portsmouth Grammar School players to come back in when they finish their school commitments.

‘Over the course of the season we will improve.

‘Our overseas player Pat Burns looks sharp and in Rob Jones we probably have the best batsman at this level.’

New-boy Burns has arrived from the Sutherland club in Sydney where he has been playing second grade.

He is still adapting to the English conditions but Henderson believes he will make a big impact at the club both playing and coaching.

The 21-year old is hoping his experience in England will help him fulfill his ambition of playing first-grade cricket when he returns to Australia.