Larner returns as Gosport prepare for big Bashley contest

Mike Ruffell. Picture: Keith Woodland
Mike Ruffell. Picture: Keith Woodland
Stuart Ransley. Picture: Neil Marshall (171115)

Stone: Havant will cope with changing tactics

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GOSPORT BOROUGH have their captain and leading run-scorer Tom Larner back for the challenging Southern League division three trip to second-placed Bashley.

Larner missed the three-wicket success at Alton but still remains top of the division three batting averages.

In fact Borough boast the two leading batsmen in the division with fellow opener Lee Harrop close behind.

In Larner’s absence Kiwi Mike Ruffell, who hit 117, took up the baton with an excellent century.

It was his first for the club and a repeat performance against Bashley second team would certainly be handy.

If all three batsmen are firing on all cylinders they could cause the powerful hosts a few problems.

Vice captain Harrop reckons Gosport have the strength to match the best sides in the division and is hoping Ruffell can continue his form tomorrow.

He said: ‘Having our captain back is a big plus.

‘On our day I believe we are one of the strongest teams in our league.

‘What we have to do is concentrate on playing our own game.

‘With our overseas player looking like he has regained his touch it is looking very positive.

‘Though he got a century in the last game he almost got himself out early on with a leading edge.

‘Fortunately the ball didn’t go to hand.

‘And he survived to go on for his big score.

‘He admitted having had that bit of luck he realised he needed to get his head down and graft.

‘The penny dropped and he got his reward.

‘He will want to keep it up so that he can go back home after three years with us on a high note.’

Borough have finished fourth for the last two years.

Harrop accepts if they are to do better this time they need to be more consistent.

‘Our aim is to keep putting pressure on the teams above us,’ said Harrop.

Second-placed Waterlooville will look to maintain their division three promotion push at lowly Hursley Park.

Havant seconds are intent on bouncing back from their Purbrook defeat by beating visitors Fair Oak.

In division one Portsmouth face a stiff test at second-placed Hook & Newnham Basics.

Basement side Sarisbury Athletic continue their relegation fight at mid-table Liphook & Ripsley.

Premier division Burridge are aiming to upset league-leaders Lymington at Botley Road.