James Scott believes a rekindled team spirit is the secret to Portsmouth’s flying start to the Southern Electric Premier League division three campaign.
The St Helens outfit have had their fair share of internal wranglings – a major factor behind their dramatic fall from grace in recent years.
But while a return to rejoin the premier division heavyweights may be some way off, the foundations are now in place with a young team chalking up two wins from their first two fixtures – the latest, a 52-run success over South Wilts II.
Scott, the Portsmouth skipper, said: ‘It wasn’t a walk in the park. It was one of those games that could have gone either way at any point.
‘It bounced back and forth and in the past few years – 99-per-cent of the time – we would have lost it.
‘But the boys rallied around and pulled out a fantastic win.
‘The morale is fantastic at the moment. The boys are working hard and enjoying it. That hasn’t always been the case at this club.
‘But we’re trying to create the right culture here now and that we are all in together.
‘So far, it is working well for us.’
While the batting failed to fire again, David Henderson (37) helped them to 186 all out and at least gave them something to bowl at.
But Portsmouth’s bowlers dug their team-mates out of bother once again with Liam Duffield (four for 20) and Vickram Dawson (four for 27) delivering the goods as South Wilts were bowled out for 134.
Scott said: ‘There is definitely room for improvement and some areas that need looking at.
‘Our top five have not really performed as yet.
‘But I’m more than chuffed with the start we’ve made.
‘I’ve got high hopes for the season.
‘We want promotion and I believe we can do it.’
Elsewhere in division three, Havant II kept their nerve to record a one-run victory over Bournemouth II in a rain-affected encounter.
Harry Hovey (45) top scored in Havant’s total of 177 all out.
But with Bournemouth set a target of 119 from 33 overs, a fine team effort from Andy Galliers’ side saw them defend it superbly.
Portsmouth & Southsea were less happy to see rain intervene.
They reached 238 for nine against Bashley (Rydal) II before their game was eventually abandoned.
In division one, Hambledon bounced back from a miserable opening day defeat as they blitzed Hartley Wintney by seven wickets.
Roscoe Thattil (64 not out) and James Scutt (55) made sure the Dons reached their victory target of 163 with minimal fuss.
Division one rivals Burridge and Sarisbury both saw their games abandoned.
In division two, Dom Carson’s 64 was in vain as United Services slipped to a second straight loss.
They went down to Hursley Park by two wickets in another rain-affected clash.