Bowling attack must step it up to lift Portsmouth

James Christian is back to boost Portsmouth. Picture: Neil Marshall
James Christian is back to boost Portsmouth. Picture: Neil Marshall
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Rich Locke has read the riot act to his Portsmouth bowling attack ahead of their Southern League division one clash with Ventnor at St Helens.

The captain believes it is time his bowlers stepped up to the mark as they seek a first win of the season.

After losing their opening two games their frustrations were increased when they travelled to Tichborne Park only to find the wicket unplayable.

Locke isn’t going to panic though and is confident his team can turn things around pretty quickly.

‘Our bowlers have not played as a unit and we need to up our game a bit in this area,’ said Locke.

‘So far we have not matched the standards achieved in the past and there are no excuses.

‘They will be the first to admit that they have been a bit off the radar.

‘You can’t concede the number of extras we have and expect to win games.

‘It is all about getting back to being disciplined, creating pressure and squeezing our opponents.

‘We are only in the fourth week of the season but we need to be stronger.

‘If we bowl well then we know we have the batting fire-power to turn over teams.’

Locke has every confidence his opening bowlers Prad Baines and Jed Whitecross can produce the goods.

Baines is in his first season at the club having joined from Hambledon and is still finding his feet at the higher level.

The tall bowler is capable of getting good bounce and height and just needs greater consistency.

Whitecross has just returned from a back injury and is still feeling his way towards his best form.

‘Jed is probably back to 85-per-cent fitness and is still working towards his full pace,’ said Locke.

‘Against Bournemouth we didn’t perform, then last weekend we knew as soon as we arrived at Tichborne Park it wasn’t playable.

‘It was incredibly wet and wouldn’t have been safe to play.

‘We were all disappointed because we felt it was a game we could have won.

‘The players are all ready to get going again and to make amends for the performance against Bournemouth.’

The home side are boosted by the return of two influential players, Harry Collier and James Christian.

Collier has the potential to add a sense of dynamism to the middle order batting and at the same time play a long innings.

Christian is back from Durham University.

Locke is keen to start a good run of form tomorrow.

‘We know that we can be a pretty strong team on our own patch,’ said Locke.

‘It is important we start to make it count.’

Portsmouth: Locke, Hay, J Marston, Collier, Christian, Palmer-Goddard, Dawson, Hammond, Baines, A Marston, Whitecross