Portsmouth without two key players for trip to Ventnor

Ben Duggan has joined Portsmouth.
Ben Duggan has joined Portsmouth.
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Portsmouth are missing two key players for their trip across the Solent to face Ventnor in Southern League division one tomorrow.

Skipper Jack Marston and opening-day hero Asad Abbas are both absent.

University of Exeter student Marston is sitting his final exams, while Abbas – who struck a match-winning 50 against Hartley Wintney last weekend – has a family engagement in Pakistan.

The visitors, however, have called up Portsmouth Grammar School talents Tom Wallis and Joe Kooner-Evans.

Portsmouth are also boosted by the presence of new opening batsman Ben Duggan.

The left-hander, who played for Ventnor last season, has been released by Hampshire from his development contract.

The 20-year-old played a number of games for the Ageas Bowl side’s second team last term.

Marston believes Duggan will be an influential addition to his squad.

‘Ben is a good friend of Fraser Hays and Harry Collier, who are with us, and he is a good fit,’ said the captain.

‘He is a focused batsman capable of grinding out runs. That is just what we need.’

Marston was pleased with the manner Portsmouth won their curtain-raiser.

In a tight affair against Hartley Wintney, they delivered a 24-run victory at St Helen’s.

Marston added: ‘We kept our nerve when the game was in the balance.

‘When you come out on top in a close game like that it gives you added confidence.

‘It stands you in good stead for the rest of the summer.’

Meanwhile, Sarisbury Athletic travel to Hartley Wintney looking to build on their winning start.

They began the campaign with a 75-run success against Liphook & Ripsley.

Havant have a good chance of maintaining their solid beginning to their Southern League premier division title defence when they host Alton.

The home side, who are bidding to clinch a third successive title, started with a confident home victory against Lymington.

Havant are also in National Club Cup action on Sunday when they welcome Chichester Priory Park to Havant Park.

Burridge ran Havant close for the title two years ago and showed early signs they could do so again this summer.

Rick Ankers’ outfit surprised a few people on the opening weekend of the season with their win at South Wilts.

New Milton are the visitors to Allotment Road.