Waterlooville and Gosport face exciting derby tussle
The season starts with an exciting derby clash as Waterlooville meet Gosport Borough in Southern Electric division three at Rowlands Avenue.
Both teams are optimistic of having a good season and the opener is expected to be a close-fought affair.
Visiting captain Tom Larner insists that Borough must look to push for promotion though accepts it is a tough opening encounter.
He said: ‘We have finished fourth in the last two seasons and would like to go better and push for the top two and promotion.
‘Our side is very much the same as it has been for a couple of years with the younger players having an extra years experience under their belt.
‘We have also been boosted by the return of Michael Ruffell our overseas player from last year.
‘He enjoyed his cricket with us and decided to stay with us for his final season in this country before returning to New Zealand.
‘At times last season he won games for us on his own and was one of the leading run scorers in the league.
‘Batting at number four, he is not a particularly big-hitter, but he accumulates runs and rarely gives his wicket away cheaply.
‘Last season we let him down on a few occasions with middle-order batting collapses.
‘When we lost a couple of wickets it invariably led to three or four going down in quick succession.
‘That is an area where we need to improve because if we can give him better support he will score even more runs.’
Gosport are switching their batting order around at the start of the season in a bid to find a solution.
Lee Harrop and Gav King are expected to open with Charlie Pennicott going in at number three.
Borough are hoping the experienced Simon Creal, who has moved in at number five will help provide greater stability in that area.
The economical Conor Regan continues to lead the bowling attack which also includes the spin option of teenager Jack Richards, Dale Patternotte and Creal.
Waterlooville give a league debut to their new overseas player 24-year-old Jimmy Hortle, from Tasmania.
Hortle will open the batting and also offers an off spin option.
The hosts also have Sam Hillman and Alex Shephard back.
Captain Max Goddard believes those two can be key men after they missed most of last season.
He said: ‘Their return is just like having two new players.
‘We always have good games against Gosport so it is an ideal way to start the season.
‘Last season was a little disappointing and we are hoping for better this time around.’
WATERLOOVILLE: Goddard, Scutt, Hortle, Shephard, Jackson, Hudson, Reynolds, Hillman, Verma, Silva, Rockett
GOSPORT BOROUGH: Harrop, King, Pennicott, Ruffell, Creal, Regan, Todd, Larner, Kitchin, Patternotte, Campbell