Marston wants Portsmouth to sharpen up after missed chances 

Alex Hammond. Picture: Allan Hutchings (150744-137)
Alex Hammond. Picture: Allan Hutchings (150744-137)
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Jack Marston is calling on Portsmouth to sharpen up their act ahead of tomorrow’s Southern League division one meeting with Rowledge at St Helens.

The captain felt his side were their own worst enemies in their thumping 190-run defeat at Hook & Newnham Basics.

They got themselves into a good position at the start but sloppy fielding let their hosts off the hook.

He said: ‘We must have dropped six or seven catches and that wasn’t good enough.

‘Hook were on the rack at 40 for three but ended up scoring more than 300 runs.

‘That is the sort of total you only chase down once or twice a season.

‘We lost early wickets and were never in it. Our fielding was so bad and could only have been down to a lack of concentration.

‘Once a couple went down we became very tense and negative which just amplified the situation.

‘It was out of character because we are a young side and normally pretty good in the field.

‘Hopefully the defeat will act as a kick up the backside for us and spur us back into action.

‘It is important we return to our usual standards because Rowledge won’t be easy.

‘They have won their first two games and we won’t be underestimating them.’

The home side are boosted by the return of three key players, Alex Hammond, Sam Collings-Wells and Jed Whitecross.

Having wicket-keeper Hammond back in the side should help with the fielding. He is travelling back from Cardiff University and his presence will be a big boost to the squad.

Top order batsman Collings-Wells is also journeying back from his university studies in Cambridge.

Whitecross returns after spending 18 months on the sidelines with a back problem.

The strike bowler had an outing with the second team last weekend and showed no signs of trouble afterwards.

Marston said: ‘This is probably our strongest line-up so far. We know if we want to challenge at the top we can’t afford to lose too many games. It is crucial we bounce back to winning ways.

‘Being back at St Helens should help because we feel very comfortable playing at home.’

Also in division one Sarisbury Athletic are aiming to continue their unbeaten start as they host Hook & Newnham Basics.

Last season’s runners-up were confident in both their wins against New Milton & Sparsholt.