A keen tussle is in prospect at St James’ Hospital as Portsmouth & Southsea look to burst Hambledon’s bubble in Southern League division three tomorrow.
The hosts are hoping to kick on after gaining their first win of the summer at Lymington.
Hambledon come into the game full of confidence after rising to second in the table with three successive wins.
However, Kieron Dunstan is backing Portsmouth & Southsea to produce another match-winning display.
‘We put in a great team performance at Lymington,’ said the skipper.
‘It was vitally important to get that first win under our belt – another defeat would have left us a bit sick.
‘Getting that win has given us a big boost. It showed us we definitely have enough quality to compete at this level.
‘There is no reason why we should not be able to recreate that level of performance against Hambledon.
‘To be honest, in the games we have lost so far we have not been completely outplayed.’
Dunstan is forced to make a couple of changes because of unavailability.
Tom Benfield and Tom Farnsworth are both away so seamer Dan Turner and middle-order batter James Cleary are drafted into the side.
It is a great opportunity for 17-year-old Turner, who has impressed in the second team.
He took five wickets last weekend and Dunstan believes he fully deserves his debut.
Meanwhile, Dunstan is relieved to have last week’s match-winner James Davies available to open the batting.
The right-hander hit a remarkable century against Lymington – despite injuring his finger in the warm-up.
‘It was probably Jack’s best innings for the club,’ added Dunstan.
‘He taped his finger up, took a couple of painkillers and got on with the job.
‘Because he looks forward to his cricket so much, he wasn’t going to let a little thing like a dislocated finger get in the way.
‘He is the sort of character who will always back himself to get runs whatever the situation.
‘It was a fantastic innings from start to finish.
‘His runs were scored throughout the whole 360 degrees and he has the ability to make bowling attacks look poor very quickly.
‘He is a class act. And it is the qualities he displayed at Lymington that we are going to need to compete at the higher level.’
Hambledon were relegated from the third tier last season.
But after losing their opening game, the Dons have quickly found their feet with three consecutive wins.
The return of left-arm spinner Ian Turner – from first-team retirement – has given the side added experience which is proving invaluable.
He has taken 12 wickets and conceded just 53 runs in the four matches the Dons have played so far.