MATT JOURNEAUX admits Sarisbury Athletic face a season of rebuilding and consolidation after losing a number of players.
They open their Southern Electric division one campaign at Tichborne Park minus a number of last season’s leading run-makers.
Basil Akram, Harry Hovey and Ryan Covey have all relocated away from the area and will be playing for different clubs.
Athletic have also lost Jack Lovett who will be out all summer after a back operation.
Captain Journeaux knows his team face a tricky test but hopes they can start well.
He said: ‘We have lost a fair few players and are very much a young side.
‘Our aim is to hold our own in this league and the early games will be a good indicator.
‘Our league is one where if you can get some early momentum you can end up doing well.
‘On the other hand if things go against you then you can find yourself in a relegation battle.
‘It is a big challenge for the younger players coming through.’
Youngsters Josh Hill and Sam Floyd were members of Athletic’s national indoor winning side and it is hoped that can inspire them to further success.
Nineteen-year-old bowler, Jordan Wright, from Trojans, has also shown a lot of promise.
Sarisbury Athletic: Journeaux, Rawlins, Floyd, Bolton, Hill, Sanders, Lovett, Freemantle, Mills, Wright, Jewell
Portsmouth give a league debut to Prad Baines, who has joined from Hambledon, in their opening division one game at Liphook and Ripsley.
He has arrived to boost the bowling attack and is expected to take the new ball for the team.
Captain Rich Locke is keen to see him get started.
He said: ‘Prad has always impressed when playing against us.
‘He is young and hungry and ready to perform at the higher level.’
Aussie Fraser Hay is also back for a second season combining his appearances along with those with Hampshire where he plays a lot of Second XI cricket.
‘We made a flying start to last season and we are looking to try to do the same again,’ said Locke.
‘If we can do that then it breeds confidence.
‘We are still a young side but our university lads are now a year older and hopefully a year wiser.
‘It is good that our overseas player Fraser knows what the club is all about having already been with us last season.
Portsmouth: Locke, Hay, J Marston, A Marston, Collier, Shaw, Dawson, Baines, Hammond, Collin-Ballard, Palmer-Goddard