BASINGSTOKE and Mid Hants' British Athletics League team will make the short trip down the M3 to Southampton for the second match of the National Division One season on Saturday.

The Down Grange club were expected to endure a difficult season after winning promotion to the second tier last year, but they made a promising start to the campaign in the opening match at Eton last month, finishing sixth.

Team manager Ian Byett is hoping for another strong display at Southampton and would like his team to finish even higher up the standings this time around.

"I was pleased with the performance in the first meeting of the season," he said. "Hopefully we can put in an equally good performance on Saturday and get another decent result.

"The fixture list has been kind to us this year and once again we do not have too far to travel, so we will be looking to make the most of that.

"The aim this year is to stay up. We made a good start last time out, but we need to carry it on.

"If we can finish sixth at every match, we'll have done well, but that still might not be enough to prevent us from being relegated, so we could do with building up a bit of a cushion.

"Judging by the first match, it's certainly possible for us to finish fourth or fifth and if we could do that on Saturday, it would be a real shot in the arm."

Basingstoke will be boosted by the return of decathlete Ben Hazell, who missed the opening match, though they will be without sprinter Dean Showler-Davis.

However, his brother, Kieran, is available to contest the 100m and 200m, with Andy Blow and the Richardson brothers, Myles and Owen, adding further depth in the sprints.

Decathlete Sam Sleap is also expected to feature, while the addition of Dave Ragan will strengthen the team in the middle distance events.

Byett added: "Losing Dean is a bit of a blow, but otherwise we are not too far short of our best. We will be improved in some areas, but in others we may be a bit weaker than last time."