Promotion is target for Portsmouth & Southsea
KIEroN DUNSTON is looking for greater consistency from his Portsmouth & Southsea side as they look to launch a Hampshire League division one title bid.
Dunston feels a couple of sloppy defeats last season probably cost his side the chance of going up.
He is looking for a winning start as they travel to Sarisbury II for the opening fixture.
The captain also feels the club have an added incentive for doing well after coming through a difficult winter at their St James Hospital headquarters.
‘Basically we had a problem with using the clubhouse which was situated in the hospital grounds,’ said Dunston.
‘Things were looking bleak at one stage but prospects are now looking good again.
‘We had been using portacabins as changing rooms and so we have had to adapt them.
‘A lot of people put in a lot of hard work renovating them and incorporating a clubhouse.
‘All of it brought a renewed sense of community and feel-good factor to the club.
‘It looks really good there now and if we could win promotion this season it would be a great reward for all the hard work.
‘Promotion would be the icing on the cake.
‘It’s not an easy league to get out of, though, and you have only got to slip up a couple of times to put your chances in jeopardy.
‘Starting away from home is not ideal and we lost against Sarisbury last season.
‘We are able to field a good squad and one that is capable of going there and getting a result.’
One absentee, however, is newly arrived batting all-rounder Shaun Briggs who is unavailable.
Though from Melbourne, Briggs has been living in this country for a few years and after a spell travelling has located back in Southsea.
Dunston is excited by the prospect of having the talented hard-hitting batsman in his side.
It could also be a big season for youngster Ollie Kanavan who is developing fast.
He will keep wicket and bat in the middle order at Sarisbury.
At the top of the order the team has reliable pair Jack Davies and Steve Clements featuring again.
They hit more than 900 runs between them last season and consistently provided a solid start to the innings.
‘It was in the middle order where we had problems on occasions,’ said Dunston.
‘To be honest we thought that we had put batting collapses behind us so it was disappointing.
‘This is an area where we need to be far more consistent.’
Matt Benfield continues as the main strike bowler and when the ball is swinging he has proved lethal.
He was joint-leading wicket-taker with Dunston last season.
Other spin options for the team include Ben Saunders and Tom Benfield.
Portsmouth & Southsea: Clements, Davies, M Benfield, Evans, T Benfield, Kanavan, Saunders, Peach, Turrell, Willey, Dunston