Portsmouth & Southsea face test of nerve

Matt Benfield. Picture: Allan Hutchings (150997-849)
Matt Benfield. Picture: Allan Hutchings (150997-849)
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Portsmouth & Southsea have the Champagne on ice as they host St Cross Symondians III in their final Hampshire League division one game of the season at St James’ Hospital tomorrow.

They need a win to secure promotion and 17 points to guarantee the title.

All-rounder Matt Benfield admits it is likely to be a nervous occasion.

‘We are determined to go out and play it like any other normal game,’ he said.

‘It is likely to be a nailbiting time but we have to make sure we go out and keep our nerve.’

The hosts make three changes with Michael Patey, Jake Peach and Tom Farnsworth returning.

United Services face an equally nerve-wracking time as they host relegated Sarisbury II at Burnaby Road.

Matt Easton’s side have to win and hope other results go their way to avoid the drop.

If they win they will be banking on Fareham & Crofton claiming victory at Ventnor II.

Bishop’s Waltham are hoping to finish the campaign with an Isle of Wight double.

After beating Ventnor, they cross the Solent to take on Ryde.

In division two, Bedhampton Mariners captain Alex Whitfield reckons his side have blown their promotion chances.

Only a few weeks ago the Mariners topped the table and looked set for the title.

However, a series of defeats have seen them drop to fourth and virtually out of the reckoning.

‘We look like we have blown it,’ said the skipper.

‘There is still an outside chance but we have to win at Bournemouth and hope the other results go our way.

‘Our form at the back end of the season has not been good. It is very disappointing.

‘The least we want to do is finish with a smile on our faces by winning.’

In division three south, Portchester need to win at Shanklin to stay up.

A win at Cadnam will see Portsmouth II crowned champions, while Hayling Island can guarantee a top-six finish by beating Suttoners.

Emsworth visit Fareham & Crofton II looking to complete the season with a remarkable unbeaten record.