Fareham & Crofton will need time to find their feet at higher level… Portsmouth & Southsea have new leader
Fareham & Crofton captain Tom Kent accepts survival is the name of the game for his newly-promoted side in Southern League division three.
They start the summer cricket season with an attractive derby against Portsmouth & Southsea at Bath Lane.
Kent believes the early weeks will present a tough challenge for his young side.
They need to some time to find their feet and have to adjust to some to changes within the team as well.
The skipper said: ‘It is quite a step up and we have lost a couple of players since last season.
‘Losing our main bowler Dan Reader, who has gone back to New Zealand, is a big blow.
‘We also have a couple of players who are away at university until the end of May.
‘Once players start coming back then we will be a lot stronger.
‘Until then all we can do is go out and give it our best shot.
‘Our first target is to ensure we survive at this level.
‘Once we have done that then we can see where we end up.
‘It is 10 years since the club played at this level so there isn’t much experience of this level cricket in our team.’
The home side will give a debut to Ben Anscombe who has joined from Petersfield.
Portsmouth & Southsea are led by new captain Jack Davies.
He was the leading runs scorer in division three last season.
All-rounder Matt Benfield will open the batting with Steve Clements.
Benfield accepts that the team are looking to improve on their batting from last summer.
He said: ‘We know our bowling is strong enough to bowl teams out.
‘Last season, though, we felt we didn’t get enough runs on the board. We are going with an extra batsman this time around so should bat a lot deeper.’
The visitors give a debut to seam bowler Muhammad Ali who has recently moved into the area.
He impressed in a pre-season friendly taking five for five against Gosport Borough.
Elsewhere in division three Hambledon host Bashley(Rydal) II and Purbrook entertain Trojans.
Last season’s premier division runners-up Burridge open up at Bashley (Rydal).
Waterlooville travel to Totton & Eling in division two.