Dunstan: Portsmouth & Southsea will quickly get up to speed

Portsmouth & Southsea skipper Kieron Dunstan. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (160598-5)
Portsmouth & Southsea skipper Kieron Dunstan. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (160598-5)
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Kieron Dunstan reckons it will not take Portsmouth & Southsea long to find their feet in division three of the Southern League.

The St James’s Hospital-based side won promotion from the Hampshire League at the end of last season.

And they entertain Fair Oak on Saturday – looking to record their first win since the return to the higher level.

Portsmouth & Southsea made a disappointing start with a home defeat against South Wilts II.

Their bid to bounce back at Gosport Borough last weekend was scuppered by the weather.

Dunstan’s team had their hosts on the back foot at 123 for eight when the game was abandoned because of rain.

The Portsmouth & Southsea skipper has seen enough in the first two games to suggest his team will do more than just survive.

‘Our opening performance was a bit hit and miss,’ said Dunstan.

‘We bowled and fielded well but our batting let us down.

‘It wasn’t too down heartening, though, because we were up against a good South Wilts team.

‘They will be one of the strongest in our league. So though it was disappointing not to win, there were still plenty of positives to take forward.

‘At Gosport we would have won the game comfortably if it hadn’t been for the rain.

‘We all know we need to raise our game a few notches.

‘Our bowling is good enough. I’d struggle to believe there is a better bowling unit in our league.

‘The focus now is on consistently improving our batting. If we improve this by about another 10 per cent then we will do well.’

A lot of the responsibility in the top order will fall on Matt Benfield.

Dunstan and Benfield spent the winter playing cricket in South Africa and the captain feels the experience will make his team-mate a better player.

‘Out in South Africa Matt worked so hard at his game,’ added Dunstan.

‘He was always the first up in the day to go running or to spend hours in the nets.

‘It was a terrific experience and he learned a lot. He is a marvellous talent and is learning he doesn’t have to hit every ball for four.

‘His technique is evolving and he now seems to have more time when batting.

‘Previously he was strong on the offside but now he is becoming an all-round player’

Dunstan is expecting a keen contest against a Fair Oak side who – like the hosts – are a largely youthful outfit.

‘We have stepped up but I don’t think it will take long for us to adjust,’ said Dunstan.

‘At Gosport we showed we were definitely at it. We can’t rest on our laurels however and must keep working hard.’

Portsmouth & Southsea: Jack Davies, Shaun Briggs, Matt Benfield, Tom Benfield, Olli Kanavan, Jake Peach, Rob Wigley, Ben Saunders, Chris Turrell, Jon Willey, Kieron Dunstan