Portsmouth skipper targets promotion charge

Dave Henderson, right
Dave Henderson, right
  • Henderson confident he has commitment to succeed
  • St Helens club launch season with home clash against Paultons
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Dave Henderson is targeting promotion with his talented Portsmouth line-up.

The St Helens skipper reckons he has the quality and commitment required to mount at title challenge in Southern Electric Premier League division two.

He steered the side to fourth spot last term but has recruited well, with Rich Locke joining from Portchester and Vikram Dawson and Aussie Pat Burns returning for second stints.

Portsmouth launch their campaign with a home clash against Paultons tomorrow (1pm).

Henderson said: ‘Last season we were stabilising, as the youngest team in the league.

‘This year it is all about promotion.

‘Those guys are a year older.

‘The difference between 17 and 18 is huge.

‘Three of them have had a winter away - in Australia and New Zealand.

‘So they have had continuous cricket for the last 12 months.

‘They are around all season because they don’t go to university until October.

‘So I have got everyone saying they are available for 18 games, which is a novelty.’

All-rounder Locke is set to boost all departments of the side, while Burns has proved a popular figure at the seafront club after starring last term.

‘We have got Rich Locke from Portchester who, in pre-season, has looked really strong,’ added Henderson.

‘He is a batsman who bowls a bit of spin as well.

‘We have got Pat back as well, which is brilliant.

‘He is just the nicest guy.

‘When we announced he was coming back all the kids and parents were ecstatic.

‘He is always at the kids’ training and they absolutely love him.

‘He has put off job offers to come back and have another summer here because he enjoyed it so much.

‘They only rule he has been given is he can’t go to Tiger Tiger on a Friday night.

‘Other than that he is okay but Tiger Tiger is banned on Fridays.’

Henderson is without regular first-team wicketkeeper Alex Hammond tomorrow, however, the gloveman is available for the rest of the campaign.

The skipper has the perfect replacement for the Paultons clash, although he admits the team’s average age will take a hit.

He said: ‘We are one man down - our keeper is at university - but he is back after this weekend for the whole summer.

‘Martin Collins-Ballard, the over-60s Hampshire keeper, comes in.

‘At 61, he drastically raises the average age of the team.

‘This week we will have six or seven 18 or unders but Martin is coming up from the second team for one game.’