Bulled steps in for absent Hindley

George Bailey is bowled for a duck against Essex. Picture: Neil Marshall

Hampshire fall to Essex loss

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Jez Bulled believes Havant have to stick together as they bid to cope without their regular skipper Richard Hindley in this weekend’s ECB Kingfisher Cup semi-final showdown.

The reigning Southern Electric Premier League champions could see their title heading elsewehere this weekend with South Wilts set to seal the silverware.

But Havant have their eyes on a different prize on Sunday as they host Essex outfit Wanstead & Snaresbrook (Havant Park, 1pm) for a place in the September showpiece at Derbyshire’s County Ground.

While vice-captain Bulled believes it is Havant’s biggest game in years, they must do it without Hindley who is away coaching cricket in Kenya.

Bulled said: ‘Richard couldn’t avoid it and it’s a big blow to lose him. We know how important he is to us.

‘But he’s not available so we have to make do without him and hope someone else steps up.

‘We’re shuffling the deck and we’re looking to go with another batsman.

‘That will leave us with five bowlers and Chris Stone has shown that he is a more than handy sixth bowler if we need a few overs from him.

‘This is the biggest game most of us will have ever played.

‘We got to the national cup semi-final about eight years ago but that was before my time at the club.

‘We’ve got a few lads who have played at a high level and played in big games but this is the biggest game anyone in the team will have played for Havant.

‘You’ve got to get worked up and excited about a semi-final.

‘People will be nervous and people will be keyed up but it’s about who handles that best on the day.’

Havant’s hopes of retaining the division one title are somewhere between slim and none with them needing a favour from basement boys Bournemouth at South Wilts.

But even so, they will be keen to finish their campaign strongly and they travel to Totton & Eling in their penultimate league fixture.

Ventnor could take a giant step towards securing their premier division safety with victory over Hampshire Academy.

In division two, Sarisbury Athletic could seal promotion to the top flight if they can win at Hartley Wintney and other results go their way.

Burridge host Hambledon in an intriguing showdown with bragging rights up for grabs, even if both sides are out of the promotion picture ahead of next week’s final round of fixtures.

But it’s the last volley of division three fixtures this week as United Services aim for a big win at Bournemouth II and other teams to do them a favour as they cling on to their promotion hopes.

Elsewhere, relegated Gosport Borough travel to Havant II while Portsmouth visit old foes Trojans.