Matt Benfield calls for more of the same after relegation-battling Portsmouth & Southsea grab a lifeline

Matt Benfield is demanding more of the same from Portsmouth & Southsea as they continue their fight to avoid relegation from Southern Premier League division three.

Thursday, 1st August 2019, 10:03 am
Updated Thursday, 1st August 2019, 10:03 am
Jonno Willey smashed 21 runs off 12 balls and took four wickets in the win at Fawley. Picture: Keith Woodland (080619-278)

The St James’ Park outfit entertain Tichborne Park on Saturday after beating second-placed Fawley last weekend.

And Benfield is backing his second-bottom side to haul themselves to safety.

The vice-captain said: ‘We have five massive games left and have to win at least three of them.

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Portsmouth & Southsea vice-captain Matt Benfield. Picture: Vernon Nash (110519- 09)

‘Our fate is still in our own hands because it is all very tight in this division.

‘We were in a similar position last season and ended up finishing fourth.

‘At Fawley we sat in the changing room before the game and made the situation clear to the team.

‘We laid it on the line that if we lost again we would almost certainly be going down.

‘The players were told we had to start performing if we didn’t want to end up back in the Hampshire League.

‘The result was a very focused display to beat one of the top teams by more than 90 runs.

‘It showed just what we are capable of when we play to our true potential.

‘We have the quality in our team to go out and win all our final games.

‘But first we have to make sure we beat Tichborne Park.’

Portsmouth & Southsea’s bowlers won the day at Fawley.

Benfield hit 47 and Ollie Kanavan struck 55 as the visitors were bowled out for 174.

Jonny Willey, who had crashed 21 runs off 12 balls, then took four for 23 as Fawley were shot out for 77.

Keiron Dunstan helped knock over the tail with three for seven.

Seam bowler Chris Turrell returns to the ranks this weekend as Portsmouth & Southsea bid for another victory.

‘We thought we were about 30 to 40 runs short at Fawley,’ added Benfield.

‘We know what we have to do this weekend and that includes batting with a lot more patience.’

Elsewhere in division three, Fareham & Crofton host Hambledon and Purbrook welcome Hythe & Dibden to the Heath.