Smitherman back in big weekend for Portsmouth

Portsmouth welcome Will Smitherman back from university as they look to get back on the winning track in Southern Premier League division one tomorrow (1pm).

Rich Locke. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (160599-5)
Rich Locke. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (160599-5)

The club will then celebrate 175 years of cricket in the city when they host the MCC at the St Helens Ground on Sunday (11.30am).

Smitherman was a mainstay at the top of the order as the club won promotion last summer.

Rich Locke is pleased to have him back as the league leaders aim to hit back from their first defeat of the season.

‘Will is a very good stroke player and also an excellent player of spin,’ said the skipper.

‘He has only been able to play one game for us so far because he has been away.

‘I am looking for a reaction after last week when we didn’t execute our skills well enough.

‘Sarisbury are a very good side and they punished us for it.

‘We have to make sure we focus on our game and I have every confidence this team can do that.’

Sarisbury, buoyed by their excellent win over the leaders, travel to mid-table Liphook & Ripsley.

Matt Journeaux’s team are now just three points behind Portsmouth and another win could see them go top.

In division three, Gosport Borough face the challenge of deposing the league leaders for the second week running.

In-form Borough knocked Basingstoke & North Hants off the top and will look to do the same to Langley Manor, who took their place.

Tom Larner’s side are also gunning for a fourth straight win which could propel them into the top three.

‘It was quite tight in our last game but we showed the bottle to win it,’ said Borough wicketkeeper Greg Kitchen.

‘We have enough talent and experience in our side to do the same again.’

Borough make one change with Alex Styles replaced by Lee Harrop.

Waterlooville will be desperate to get back into action at rock-bottom Ryde after last week’s abandonment.

And in a battle of the second teams, Havant II travel to Lymington II with the visitors encouraged after picking up their first win.