Portsmouth are hoping to make Hay in promotion push after Fraser boost
Portsmouth captain Jack Marston has his sights set firmly on winning promotion from Southern League division one this season.
They face a tough start to the campaign against newly-relegated New Milton on Saturday at St Helens Field.
The home side are boosted by the return of talented Aussie all-rounder Fraser Hay for a fourth season with the club.
Marston expects the 22-year-old to once again be an influential player in their fortunes.
He said: ‘Fraser had a brilliant winter back home and was called up into the Perth Scorchers squad.
‘Though he only made 12th man he did appear in their second team.
‘He opens the bowling and bats at number three so is a pivotal player for us.
‘In his previous visits he has played for Hampshire seconds and he will be hoping to do the same again.
‘Playing New Milton first up will give us a good indication of where we are at.
‘It will give us an idea of whether what we want is achievable.
‘We must look to be competitive.
‘They didn’t have the best of times last season but they will be wanting to go straight back up.
‘Our aim is to win promotion.
‘It is a long season and whatever happens the title won't be won or lost in the first game.
‘Last season we started poorly and finished strongly.
‘We feel we will have a much better availability this time around.’
Marston is also pleased to have good quality at the top of the order in opening batsman Ben Duggan.
The 21-year-old spent the winter with Hay in Perth and is committed to one more season of seeing how far he can take his cricket.
Marston also spent the close-season abroad sharpening his skills with Parnell Cricket club, Auckland in New Zealand.
He added: ‘It was good to keep playing and not have the long winter break.
‘I certainly think it helps you start the summer that little bit sharper.’
The home side give a debut to all-rounder James Holder who has moved across from Purbrook.
Portsmouth: Ben Duggan, James Christian, Fraser Hay, Jack Marston, Dan Wallis, Matt Shaw, James Holder, Nicky Wyatt, Andy Marston, Reuben McArdle, Farhad Ahmed