Harrop eyes shock as Gosport morale soars

Hampshire's James Vince hits a six during the NatWest T20 Blast Finals Day at Edgbaston, Birmingham. PPP-170309-212743001

Hampshire start T20 Blast campaign against Glamorgan

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Gosport Borough are hoping to exploit the return of the feel-good factor when they visit third-placed Alton II in Hampshire League division one.

A month ago the club were in the doldrums – slipping dangerously close to the relegation zone.

Since then three consecutive wins have lifted everyone at Privett Park.

And Gosport captain Lee Harrop believes they can go on and finish the season with a flourish.

‘We are all enjoying our cricket again after a desperate June when we lost all our games,’ he said.

‘Morale was low and we were not in a good position.

‘Our recent wins have made a huge difference, though, and the mood within the camp has been transformed.

‘The players are texting during the week saying how much they are looking forward to the games.

‘I admit it has taken us a bit of time to find our feet after last season’s relegation from the Southern Electric Premier League.

‘We also had a 10-point deduction at the start of the summer for an administrative error.

‘The side is in a bit of a transition with some of our more established players stepping down.

‘The youngsters coming in have some big shoes to fill but they are starting to do just that.’

Wins over Shrewton, Midhurst and St Cross Symondians have lifted Gosport into mid-table security as a number of players have found their form.

All-rounder Andrew Tiddy has been influential – with the New Zealand farmer coming to terms with conditions in his first trip to these shores.

He has consistently scored useful runs, including a crucial 61 in the four-wicket success over Shrewton which got Borough back to winning ways.

The 25-year-old has been even better with the ball, though, grabbing three wickets for 41 runs in last week’s success over St Cross.

‘If anything he is too nice,’ said Harrop.

‘In the past we have had Aussie overseas players who have proved extremely competitive.

‘At times we would like Andrew to rough up the batsman a little more.

‘He is quick, though, and can deceptively move the ball away from the batsmen.

‘His farm back home is right next to where they filmed scenes from Lord of the Rings but unlike the Hobbits he is a tall, powerful lad.’

Harrop knows with the likes of himself, Craig Stares, Simon Creal, Michael Jenkins and Tom Larner he has good quality in the squad.

Young keeper Greg Kitchin also showed he is filling the gap left by Pete Robson by claiming five catches and a stumping in Borough’s last win.

A month ago few would have given Borough much chance of returning from Alton II with a win.

But Harrop insists that has changed and believes his men can spring a surprise.

They will have to do it without Andrew Blomerus, though. His absence opens the door for Richie Edwards to return.