Portsmouth skipper hunts winning feeling

Portsmouth captain Jack Marston. Picture: Allan Hutchings (150744-124)
Portsmouth captain Jack Marston. Picture: Allan Hutchings (150744-124)
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Portsmouth are looking to regain their winning touch as they host Bournemouth in a Southern League division one contest at St Helens on Saturday.

Since winning their opening game of the season, the Southsea-based outfit have suffered three successive defeats.

Jack Marston accepts his side won’t find it easy against their second-placed visitors.

However, the skipper took a number of positives from the narrow defeat at unbeaten leaders Hook & Newnham Basics last weekend.

And he is keen to see his troops kick on from the three-run loss.

Marston said: ‘It was a much better performance from us against the leaders.

‘After getting off to a good start we let them get 30 or 40 runs too many.

‘And when we batted it was disappointing to get so close without being able to get over the finishing line.

‘Bournemouth are one of the favourites to win our division, so we know it will be tough.

‘In two weeks’ time we will be strengthened by the return of two key players.

‘Our overseas player Fraser Hay and my brother Andy will be back from Australia.

‘Until then we must look to win at least one game to stop us slipping down the table.

‘It is important we don’t lose too many because we don’t want to be playing catch-up in the second half of the season.

‘When we are able to field our full-strength team then we will be hard to beat.’

Despite the losses, one player who has continued to show his class is opening batsman Ben Duggan.

The 21-year-old top scored with 75 against Hook – putting on a 110-run second-wicket partnership with his captain.

He has posted two half-centuries in his three innings so far.

‘Ben is batting really well and having someone like him opening breeds confidence,’ added Marston.

‘He has been playing for Somerset’s second XI this week against Essex.

‘A left-hand bat, he has got the ability to punish anything loose. He is strong off his legs and drives the ball well.

‘Also he knows the game better than any of the rest of us.’

Portsmouth make one change with the experienced Vikram Dawson replacing Joe Kooner-Evans, who is captaining Portsmouth Grammar School.

‘It is a shame we are losing Joe for the next three or four weeks,’ said Marston.

‘He took four wickets and bowled really well at the death in the last game.’

Portsmouth: Ben Duggan, Jordan Palmer-Goddard, Jack Marston, Vikram Dawson, Asad Abbas, Matt Shaw, Prad Bains, Paul Hungerford, Alex Hammond, Reuben McArdle, Ethan Randall