WILL BOND is refusing to give up on leading Hambledon to promotion from Southern League division two in his first year as captain.
He knows, however, they will need to beat fellow promotion rivals Trojans at Stoneham Lane to keep those hopes alive.
Bond has enjoyed a successful first year in charge at Ridge Meadow.
He said: ‘It has been good to be in a position to make decisions and have more responsibility.
‘I feel having the extra responsibility has helped my own game.
‘Being captain and wicket-keeper means there is always a lot going on and I have had to concentrate a bit more.
‘Also with a lot of youngsters in the team I have felt a bigger responsibility in setting an example for them.
‘We still gave an outside chance of promotion which would be the icing on the cake.
‘Our ambition at the start of the summer was to improve upon our sixth-place finish last season.
‘Barring things going badly wrong in the final two games we are on course to achieve that.’
Bond was absent last weekend when Hambledon suffered a disappointing defeat at the hands of Tichborne Park.
In a rain-affected game the home side were chasing 186 to win and made a good start to their run chase.
George Marshall (58) got them into a good position before the middle order suffered a collapse, losing eight wickets for a measly 23 runs.
Fourth-placed Hambledon will need to show far more resilience if they are to overcome third-placed Trojans.
The visitors have relied heavily on three of their top order batsmen for their runs.
Marshall, Bond and overseas player Shane Nkomo have led the way with the latter scoring 568 runs and he is the leading run scorer in the division.
‘Our top two have been great for us, said Bond.
‘They possess contrasting styles with George attacking from the off and Shane a more technically correct batsman.
‘When George stays in he can do a lot of damage while Shane will build his innings and accelerate later on.’
Bond insists his team won’t be taking their foot off the gas.
He knows, however, his fragile middle order will need to raise their game.
They won’t be able to afford another poor batting collapse.
What was most disappointing was the fact Hambledon felt Tichborne Park had been there for the taking.
For much of the game Hambledon were having the best of it.
If they get into a similar position against Trojans Bond will insist his team make the most of it.
Bowler Rupert Hetherington also returns for the Dons.
HAMBLEDON: George Marshall, Shane Nkomo, Will Bond, Indy Chakrabarti, Spencer Le Clerq, Owain Chapman, Prad Baines, George Harding, Rhidian Chapman, Rupert Hetherington