Locks Heath are back on the up

JACK PASKINS feels Locks Heath have nothing to fear as they face Hampshire League division two leaders Longparish at Warsash Road.

Friday, 29th July 2016, 7:15 am
James Hughes has been in cracking form for Locks Heath. Picture: Mick Young

After a couple of difficult seasons Paskins believes Locks Heath are finally on the way back up.

Four years ago the club were on the brink of promotion to the Southern League but were denied the chance because their outfield didn’t meet the required standard.

As a result a number of senior players lost interest and drifted away from the club.

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That culminated in relegation from division one.

Following a tricky start to life in their new surroundings Locks Heath have worked their way up to eighth in the league.

‘We have won our last three games so feel that we are on the up,’ said Paskins.

‘The club has been rebuilding for the last four years after the bulk of our senior side left.

‘Losing eight or nine players in one go was a big hit.

‘When that happened we found ourselves having to play a lot of youngsters who were not quite ready.

‘In the circumstances the danger is that you keep falling lower down the leagues.

‘It looked like we might be in for another struggle at the start of this season.

‘We lost four of our first six games and it didn’t look good.

‘However we have managed to turn things around and have won our last three games.

‘There is greater belief that we can go out there now and win games.’

Portsmouth Grammar School teacher James Hughes has proved a revelation since returning from his school duties.

Hughes has hit a 108 and an unbeaten 95 in the thrilling win at Hungerford in the last game.

He has been with the club since the age of eight and is an important part of the set-up.

Ex-captain Jack Levy and Paskins have also played an important part in the club’s recovery.

And the youngsters are also making their mark.

Ben Firth, a seam bowler and Tom Griffiths, an off-spinner, are becoming increasingly influential in the side.

Confidence has been boosted by the wins over Bournemouth II, Compton & Chandlers Ford and Hungerford, all sides who are doing well.

The latest success over Hungerford was particularly pleasing with Hughes hitting three runs off the final ball to clinch the win.

‘Longparish maybe unbeaten at the top of the league but we feel that on our day we are capable of upsetting them,’ said Paskins.

‘Eventually we want to get ourselves back into division one.’

Experienced batsman Chris Boyd has provided the club with a big boost as he will play his first game in four years for Locks Heath.

Locks Heath: Jack Paskins, James Hughes, Neil Richardson, Matt Bridges, Jack Levy, Joe Acaster, Chris Boyd, Matt Wake, Tom Griffiths, Marcus Hepp, Andy Newland.