Relegation decider in derby clash

Burridge beat Sarisbury in the first meeting between the two sides this season. Picture by: Malcolm Wells (150627-3762)
Burridge beat Sarisbury in the first meeting between the two sides this season. Picture by: Malcolm Wells (150627-3762)
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Burridge and Sarisbury Athletic have been here before when it comes to final-day deciders.

Two years ago, both clubs were gunning for promotion from Southern Electric Premier League division one to the top flight.

On that occasion, Burridge came out on top to claim the title – although Sarisbury did follow them up 12 months later.

But now both clubs know defeat will spell the end of their stay in the top division of local cricket in a winner-takes-all survival showdown.

Burridge hold a slender advantage of just two points over bottom club Sarisbury and will survive if the weather intervenes and prevents any play at Botley Road.

But although Rick Ankers’ side have history on their side with four straight wins over ther nearest neighbours, neither club can claim to be in any real form.

Burridge last tasted victory on July 18 against Alton, while Matt Journeaux’s men have a winless run stretching back to July 4.

And Journeaux knows it is a huge game for his side.

The Sarisbury skipper said: ‘We’re quite excited and we’re just hoping the game will be on.

‘I’m sure it will be a tense affair but we’re quite looking forward to it.

‘It puts the rest of the season to one side and it all culminates in one game.

‘It will be a good game to play in.

‘There’s no hiding the fact it’s probably the biggest game in the club’s history but we are trying to do everything else as normal as possible.

‘Now we have to produce on the day and hopefully that bit of pressure can bring out the best in the lads.

‘We had a similar game against them a couple of years ago to win the league.

‘We just had the approach to win the game and not worry about the bonus points we needed.

‘So it’s a bit clearer this time. Whoever wins, stays up and whoever loses, goes down.’

Burridge will be without Joe Gatting, who is on Hampshire duty at Natwest T20 Blast finals day.

But overseas all-rounder Geoff Dods is looking to the recent history of his own playing career and the record against Sarisbury to boost hopes.

Dods said: ‘I haven’t played in too many games like this but I have never been relegated before and I don’t really want to start now.

‘I’ve never lost to Sarisbury either, so hopefully that can help.

‘It brings back a few memories of two years ago when it was playing for promotion.

‘That was a similar situation. We are quietly confident but I’m sure they would be as well.

‘The ground has had a lot of rain so it will take a good effort and no more rain to be able to play the game.

‘But we all definitely want to play this game.

‘On the whole, the standard of the league has been good this season.

‘It’s been more competitive and there are some really good players around the league.

‘We’ve struggled to have a consistent team for most of the season.

‘It can be tough to compete where there are four or five new guys every week.

‘The more established teams tend to have the same players every week.

‘I think that is a huge factor.’