Hudson: Waterlooville en route to exceeding expectations

Alex Shephard, right. Picture: Keith Woodland
Alex Shephard, right. Picture: Keith Woodland
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Jon Hudson is confident Waterlooville can continue to build on their solid start to life in Southern League division two.

The Rowlands Avenue outfit entertain Paultons tomorrow and the vice-captain is eyeing a fourth win in five games.

Waterlooville’s target at the beginning of the season was to consolidate their third-tier status.

The early evidence suggests Max Goddard’s men are more than capable of doing that.

Hudson believes the players should take great confidence from their start.

He said: ‘We have shown we are on the right path.

‘At the start of the summer the focus was definitely on making sure we stayed up.

‘In two weeks time we reach the halfway stage and we will have a look to see where we are at then.

‘The most pleasing aspect has been every player pulling together and contributing.

‘Apart from Conor Regan coming to us from Gosport Borough, we haven’t signed any new players.

‘The bulk of the team is the same that won promotion.

‘It is a case of these players putting in the hard work and effort to improve.

‘We have noticed the difference stepping up to the higher level.

‘All the teams seem to have that extra batsman or bowler and have less weak links.

‘We have also learned that we have to remain focused for that little bit longer.’

Waterlooville’s success is even more impressive considering they have been without one of their key players.

Sam Hillman, who has been one of their leading lights in recent years, has been ruled out so far this summer with tendonitis in his knee.

However, he is hoping to make a return to the second team this weekend.

It will be a massive boost for Waterlooville if he passes the test and they can get him back into action.

In his absence, others have stepped up to the plate. Waterlooville have twice bowled out opponents for fewer than 100.

Regan has proved a useful acquisition.

Ashan Silva leads the wicket-takers with 12, while Archie Reynolds is just two behind.

Against Rowledge Silva collected a five wicket haul.

On the batting front, Aussie Alex Smith, James Scutt and Alex Shephard have all contributed. Smith was particularly impressive in an unbeaten 47 against St Cross Symondians II.

Waterlooville are forced to make one change tomorrow – with Tim Jackson unavailable.

That leaves the door open for 16-year-old Tom Seve to step up from the second team.

Waterlooville: James Scutt, Alex Smith, Archie Reynolds, Alex Shephard, Tom Green, Jon Hudson, Max Goddard, Tom Seve, Namish Verma, Conor Regan, Ashan Silva