Marston up for the challenge of upsetting Hook and maintaining Portsmouth promotion hopes

Portsmouth are boosted by the return of left-arm spinner Andrew Marston
Portsmouth are boosted by the return of left-arm spinner Andrew Marston
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Portsmouth know their Southern League premier division one promotion credentials are on the line against Hook & Newnham Basics at St Helens on Saturday.

Jack Marston accepts his team need to beat the league leaders to maintain their bid for honours.

The team captain knows it won't be easy against a side who inflicted a heavy defeat on them earlier in the season.

Portsmouth lost by 190 runs in just the second game of the season, but Marston is backing his side to turn the tables on their visitors.

The hosts are looking for a third successive win after recent wins against Sarisbury Athletic and New Milton.

‘This is a massive game for both teams,’ admitted Marston.

‘If we lose then it will make it very difficult to catch them.

‘Arguably, though, we are putting out our strongest team so far this summer.

‘We feel now is the time to go out and do it on the back of two good wins.

‘Our performance at New Milton in our last game was probably our best so far.

‘Fraser Hay and Reuben McArdle bowled well to skittle them out.

‘Then we knocked off the runs without losing a wicket.

‘If we play our best cricket there is no reason why we cannot come out on top.’

Marston is boosted by the return of a number of key players.

Opening batsman Ben Duggan is available after serving a one-match ban for showing dissent in the game at Sparsholt.

The return of Andrew Marston from holiday also benefits the home spin bowling attack.

Meanwhile, Tom Wallis, who has been scoring hundreds for fun at school, also re-appears.

‘It is good to have key players back,’ said Marston.

‘Ben is one of the best openers around and invariably gives us a stable platform at the start.

‘He also has the potential to go on and hit big hundreds.

‘Apart from last weekend he has pretty much opened every game and it makes a difference having him back.

‘Andrew, my brother, is one of our best bowlers.

‘I am looking for a big performance and if we produce it then we have every chance of beating Hook.’

The home captain is expecting a good batting wicket but is confident his side can adapt even if they lose the toss.

He added: ‘The wicket might do a little bit early on but it will be relatively flat and good to bat on.

‘Ideally, we will hope to bat first and get the runs to take the game away from them.

‘Equally, I would back us to chase down a score.’

Portsmouth: Ben Duggan, James Christian, Tom Wallis, Fraser Hay, Jack Marston, Dan Wallis, Alex Hammond, Henry Wolf, Reuben McArdle, Andrew Marston, Farhad Ahmed.