Havant want to seal title in style

Bowler Rohan Kandiah in action as Havant beat Lymington. Picture: Mick Young

Bowler Rohan Kandiah in action as Havant beat Lymington. Picture: Mick Young

Hambledon's George Harding batting against St Cross. Picture Ian Hargreaves (170744-1)

Havant suffer crushing defeat... Burridge scare Lymington

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Havant insist they want no favours from the weather in their bid to seal the Southern Electric Premier League premier division title.

The league leaders travel to second-placed South Wilts for the winner-takes-all clash but also know that they would be crowned as champions for the first time since 2011 if no result is possible.

Showers are forecast and the County Ground in Salisbury is renowned as a venue that struggles to recover quickly from rain.

But player-coach, Pete Hopson, believes the troops are determined to prove they deserve to be champions this season and continue an impressive record at the home of their rivals.

Hopson said: ‘Everyone is really keen to play the game.

‘There are some showers forecast and it would be a terrible shame if that affected everything.

‘Nobody wants the weather to do us any favours. We all want to go there, win the match and win the league.

‘But we’re excited about it and that’s a good sign.

‘The away side seems to do better in the fixtures between the clubs.

‘I was told that we have won at their place three years on the trot and they have won at our place three years on the trot.

‘We enjoy playing cricket there and we’ve had some good wins over the years. Now we need to do it again.’

Double champions South Wilts are looking for a third straight title and may have the psychological edge after their 58-run success at Havant Park back in June.

But that was the only league defeat that Havant have suffered all season.

Hopson said: ‘We’ve lost one game of cricket all year and they have lost three.

‘They got a lot more points than we did in timed games and that’s fair enough. They went with a high-risk strategy and that worked for them.

‘But overall, we have played a lot of really good cricket this year.

‘I think we deserve to win the league.’

While it’s one of the biggest games in the league’s history with everything to play for, Hopson insists the players will remain focused.

And even if the result doesn’t go their way, he believes the foundations are in place to challenge again over the next decade.

He said: ‘We are such a young team that the core of this side should be playing for Havant for the next 10 years.

‘Of course, we’re desperate to win the league but if we end up on the losing side, it won’t be game over for Havant.

‘We would go again next year.

‘Having got to this position, though, we want to finish the job.

‘We have got lots of big-game experience from recent years.

‘We’ve got lots of calm characters in our side and that will help.

‘There is the added edge that the winner will win the league.

‘But it’s all about staying focused.’

At the other end of the table, relegation-threatened Burridge travel to Ventnor who are looking to seal third place in the premier division.

Rick Ankers’ side need to win to guarantee their survival as they are 11 points clear of Totton & Eling, who travel to Hampshire Academy.

But that cushion could be vital if both sides suffer defeat.

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