Robbins: Portchester have their work cut out to avoid drop

Harry Robbins knows he has a fight on his hands to try to keep Portchester in Hampshire League division two.

Friday, 15th July 2016, 8:00 am
Tom Adams Picture: Paul Jacobs

Robbins took over as captain after the departure of Rich Locke to neighbours Portsmouth during the winter.

It won’t be an easy task as his side has found life difficult in the second tier following last seasons’ relegation.

Their battle against fellow strugglers Bedhampton at Bidbury Mead tomorrow is key to the futures of both teams.

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‘We are in the process of rebuilding at the moment,’ said Robbins.

‘At the end of last summer we had four or five players leave and have also lost a key player to injury.

‘So far we have only won one game, against Locksheath, but if we can beat Bedhampton it would boost our positivity.

‘We have not been too far away, losing out in a couple of close games.

‘Our aim is to stay in county division two if we can because we don’t want to slip further down the leagues.

‘With four teams going down we know that we have a lot of work to do.

‘This is an important game because Bedhampton need to win just as much as we do.’

It was a blow at the end of last season when opening batsman Locke left.

He was a leading run scorer at the club and has proven difficult to replace.

His loss was also compounded by an injury to leading strike bowler Blake Barnwell.

Barnwell, who is in the Royal Navy, has been signed off for 18 months due to a shoulder injury.

There have been some positives, however, with opening bat Tom Adams starting to score runs and bowling some useful overs.

Matthew Crouch, who missed most of last season, has returned and has scored some runs, including a few 40s.

Nineteen-year-old Hayden Sole is also a good prospect behind the stumps.

Robbins is also boosted this weekend by the re-appearance of club stalwart Dave O’Neil

‘We have got a fairly decent side out for this game,’ he said.

‘Hopefully, Dave O’Neil will be back and he is a big player for us.

‘He used to open the bowling and regularly took two or three wickets for 20 runs in his spells.

‘We feel we have been a bit unfortunate in some games.

‘Against Hayling Island, where we felt confident of getting a result, our chances were spoiled by the weather.

‘If we can get another win who knows what can happen in the last few games.’

The game is equally vital for Bedhampton, who also find themselves in the lower reaches of the league.

Dan Clark’s side made an excellent start by winning their opening two games of the season.

Since then, however, they have failed to win a match and are desperate to break their losing habit.

Portchester: Harry Robbins, Tom Adams, Hayden Sole,

Paul Hungerford, Scott Elson, Lee Hungerford, Remi Cake, Matthew Crouch, Sean kelly, Derek Kelly, Jake Hastie.