Crucial stage of the season for Basingstoke and North Hants' title hopes

Basingstoke Gazette: Steve Bucksey's fine form for the second team could earn him promotion to the first XI this weekend Steve Bucksey's fine form for the second team could earn him promotion to the first XI this weekend

BASINGSTOKE and North Hants are preparing to play two games that could define their season.

The Bountymen sit second in Southern League Division One after their victory over Hook, having won all five of the games they have played so far this campaign.

On Saturday, they make the short trip down the A303 to face a strong Andover side, while next weekend will see the Bountymen host current leaders New Milton.

Win both games and Basingstoke will sit top of the table at the halfway point of the season, giving them a great chance of securing back-to-back promotions.

Captain Chris Froud said: “The next two weeks are going to be really big for us. Andover look like they are one of the better sides in the league and then we host New Milton.

“If we can win both games then we will get to the halfway point of the season top of the league, having won all of our games, which would be massive.”

Andover have had a mixed start to the season, winning two and losing two of the four matches they have been able to play. They went down by 33 runs away at Bournemouth last week, but boast a highly dangerous player in David Taylor.

The former Worcestershire and Derbyshire man is likely to open with both bat and ball. He bowls tight lines and can be destructive with the bat.

“We have played against David Taylor quite a lot in the past, so we know what he is all about,” Froud said. “He hits the ball hard and a long way, so we need to make sure that we get him out early.

“It is going to be a tough game, but we want to make it six wins out of six and back ourselves against anybody.”

The Bountymen will be without skipper Froud, so Dan Coombs will captain the side, while batsman Steve Bucksey’s fine form for the second team could see him promoted for the game.

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