KEIRON DUNSTAN reckons Portsmouth & Southsea need to sharpen up if they are to maintain their bid to win promotion from Hampshire League division one.
Dunstan was massively disappointed following the surprise defeat at lowly Sarisbury II which severely dented their ambitions.
He is refusing to give up on the chance to reach the Southern League, though, as he prepares his troops to face Old Tauntonians & Romsey II.
‘We cannot afford any more slip-ups,’ said the Portsmouth & Southsea skipper.
‘Basically we can’t afford to lose again this summer.
‘It is important we get back to the performances we were putting in at the start of the season.
‘I am not ready to throw the towel in yet concerning promotion.
‘We have only lost twice and still have to play league leaders Alton.
‘At Sarisbury we let ourselves down a bit in the field.
‘We were a bit sloppy with some good chances going begging.
‘Add to those the fact we gave away far too many extras and allowed Sarisbury to get 30 or 40 more runs than they should have.
‘We will have to be a lot sharper in the field from now on.’
Dunstan is forced to make a couple of changes with Jonathan Willey away on holiday and Matt Smith unavailable.
Promising 18-year-old off-spinner Ben Saunders returns to the side along with Ian Rogers.
‘We missed Ben at Sarisbury on a wicket that increasingly took spin,’ said Dunstan.
Losing at Sarisbury was a big shock for Dunstan – particularly after his team got themselves into an excellent position.
Chasing 197 for eight, Steve Clement (27) and Tom Farnworth (24) got them off to a flying start.
The visitors raced to 60 without loss off the first eight overs.
Once the openers departed, however, Portsmouth & Southsea lost wickets at regular intervals.
Their final six wickets fell for 17 runs off 45 deliveries and by the end the visitors were well beaten by 84 runs.
‘That is the first time this season our batting has collapsed like that,’ said Dunstan.
‘We possibly took too much for granted and took our foot off the pedal.
‘Disappointingly both the games we have lost have been against teams we should be beating.
‘It is good to be getting back to St James’ Hospital where we haven’t lost yet this summer.
‘We tend to be better at home because over the years we have learned how to play our ground.
‘I am expecting us to bounce back to winning ways, although OTs are a decent side.
‘Playing the better sides tends to bring the best out of us.
‘It will mean us having to be better in all three areas of bowling, fielding and batting.’
Portsmouth & Southsea: Steve Clement, Ian Rogers, Jack Davies, Matt Benfield, Tom Benfield, Tom Farnworth, Sayeed Shahid, Ben Saunders,Matt Williams, Chris Turrell, Keiron Dunstan