Portchester recovery is reaching full swing

PORTCHESTER are showing signs they can end their slide down the Hampshire League as they prepare to host Hayling Island tomorrow in division three south.

Friday, 23rd June 2017, 7:30 am
Updated Tuesday, 18th July 2017, 8:45 am
Harry Robbins batting for Portchester. Picture: Mick Young

It’s been a frustrating time for the team who have suffered two relegations in succession.

In his second year as captain Harry Robbins believes the club can stabilise and start to plant the green shoots of revival.

‘The last few years have been a bit of a struggle,’ said Robbins.

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‘Only four years ago it was totally different when we lost the league on the final day by a single point.

‘It was frustrating to go so close and then have a number of players leave.

‘It is understandable why they did because they wanted to play at a higher level.

‘The name of the game for us at the moment is consolidation and slowly progressing back up the leagues.

‘We have a number of good youngsters playing in the second team so the roots are there.

‘It is a bit too early for them to move up to the seniors.’

At the start of the season it looked as though Portchester could be candidates for a third successive relegation.

Heavy defeats at Winton and Waterlooville II looked ominous but since then Robbin’s side have perked up.

They head into this weekend seeking a third successive win after beating Follands and Cadnam.

The latter win was a thriller as Robbins clinched a one-run victory with a wicket on the final ball of the game.

Robbins, however, will miss the Hayling match but the home side are boosted by the return of Steve and Dave O’Neill.

The experienced pair, along with the return of Dave Hungerford gives them a solid look.

‘Early on our problem was having players missing due to work and holidays,’ said Robbins.

‘In our opening games we only had a few first team players in and having to make up the numbers.

‘Our biggest headache has been our batting.

‘When we are good we are very good but when we are bad we are terrible.’

The form shown recently is a long way from the heady days of 2014 when they narrowly missed out on finishing as Hampshire League champions.

Failure to win the title and the fact their limited ground facilities denied them the chance to progress into the Southern League resulted in a number of players leaving the club.

The rot set in the following year which turned into a catalogue of disasters.

Firstly overseas player Andrew Webb got turned back at immigration when he failed to arrive with the necessary papers.

In the latter part of the season they won just one of their last nine games and had captain Paul Hungerford ruled out.

Another relegation followed last season when both they and opponents Hayling finished at the bottom.

But now things are starting to look up again.

Portchester: P Hungerford, S O’Neill, D O’Neill, Jeal, Noyce, S Kelly, S, D Kelly, Crouch, Vincent, Wood, Edgar