Dons out to dampen Portsmouth’s day

Portsmouth narrowly beat Hambledon in a thrilling clash earlier this season. Picture: Malcolm Wells (150613-1959)
Portsmouth narrowly beat Hambledon in a thrilling clash earlier this season. Picture: Malcolm Wells (150613-1959)
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Portsmouth should rubber-stamp their promotion from Southern Electric Premier League division two as they host neighbours Hambledon tomorrow.

The St Helen’s outfit removed all serious remaining doubts with their comprehensive 115-run win over Hursley Park last weekend.

And that result means they now need just five bonus points to remove the possibility of any mathematical miracles.

Unavailable skipper Dave Henderson hands over the reins to Rich Locke.

But in-form Hambledon will do their best to spoil the party as they go looking for a sixth win from their past seven games after turning their season around at the midway point.

Dons captain Rob Atkins wants to rule out any lingering danger of relegation after cruising to a win over Langley Manor last weekend.

Atkins said: ‘I’ve never been so happy with a did not bat against my name.

‘It was a very professional display.

‘We have now won five of our six games since the halfway stage of the season.

‘It has been an excellent effort by everyone involved.

‘The arrivals of Shane Nkomo and George Marshall have been the missing pieces of the jigsaw really. We were competitive in the first half of the campaign but maybe struggled to get over the line at times.

‘Those two have given us that extra strength in depth and consistency.

‘We are not quite safe just yet and have three big games to finish off the summer.

‘But we should soon be able to relax and plan for next year.

‘We’ve got nothing to fear from Portsmouth.

‘We lost only by one wicket earlier in the season with a weaker side.

‘We have strengthened in all areas since then.’

In division three, Waterlooville need to arrest their recent slide quickly if they want to stay in the promotion hunt.

Max Goddard’s side have now lost three of their past four matches ahead of tomorrow’s trip to South Wilts II.

But their fate is still very much in their own hands with a crucial showdown with second-placed Trojans next weekend.

Gosport Borough will be looking for a response after going down to Alton II.

They entertain Basingstoke & North Hants II at Privett Park.

Improving Havant II have climbed the table in recent weeks and look to make it four wins out of five at home to Alton II.