Burridge battle to beat the drop

Burridge captain Rick Ankers
Burridge captain Rick Ankers
New Hampshire signing Sam Northeast  Picture: Tom Dulat/Getty Images

Hampshire head to Northeast for success

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Rick Ankers believes his Burridge side have to prove their desire to stay in the Southern Electric premier division ahead of their final three fixtures.

Last season’s division one champions have suffered a miserable run of form, with five defeats in their past seven games, which has seen them sink to the bottom of the table.

Their last victory was back on June 14 when they beat fellow-strugglers Totton & Eling by 26 runs – the same opponents they face tomorrow.

But with a home fixture against leaders South Wilts next week and a trip to Ventnor on the final day of the season, Burridge know there is even more importance in beating the team directly above them in the battle to avoid the drop.

Ankers said: ‘We have every right to be worried.

‘We need to win two out of the last three games realistically and one of them is against South Wilts, while the other one is away at Ventnor and not many teams win there.

‘But I firmly believe that if we play to the potential that we undoubtedly have and put everything together, we are capable of competing with anyone.

‘I don’t think that has changed all season.

‘We’ve contrived to take ourselves from dominating positions and turned it on its head at various different times.

‘We’ve made some bad decisions and, collectively, we’ve had some poor errors of judgement.

‘This year we have played some good, competitive cricket.

‘Almost every team we have played have said “there’s no way you will get relegated”.

‘But if you don’t perform, it means nothing. It’s time to step up.

‘I have no complaints. We are probably in the position we should be but I believe we are a better side than we are showing at the moment.

‘Hopefully, we can prove that in the final three games.

‘We are targeting three wins – we’ve got to go at it and show that we want to stay in this division.’

While Ankers is determined to preserve the club’s status, he does not fear the prospect of returning to division one in a bid to come back stronger next time.

He said: ‘It’s been a big learning curve for us.

‘Other teams have gone up and down and it’s a different form of cricket. It takes time to get used to it.

‘You don’t become a bad team overnight and we went through last season dominating. We only lost two games all year.

‘I absolutely don’t want to go down. We have worked hard to get here and we don’t want to give that up.

‘The fact of the matter is that you don’t always get what you want in life.

‘If we did end up going down, we will dust ourselves off and be back even stronger for the experience.

‘But I’m not contemplating it until the last ball of the season has been bowled.’

With Sean Terry on Hampshire duty again, Burridge are also without Derke Kenway.

Ankers added: ‘Unfortunately, Des (Derke) is away and Sean Terry is not available again.

‘A few things have gone against us but we can’t use that as an excuse.

‘We need a couple of things to go our way but we need to make our own luck.’