Havant’s resolve will be crucial in bid to retain crown

Pete Hopson
Pete Hopson
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PETE HOPSON reckons Havant have the greater strength needed to retain their Southern League premier division title.

They welcome New Milton to Havant Park and will be aiming to continue building some good momentum after putting their surprise home loss to Alton on the opening day of the season behind them.

Hopson missed that defeat but was recalled to the side that bounced back well with a good win at Bashley.

He said: ‘I didn’t play in the Alton game and it was a bit of a strange result.

‘Apparently Alton bowled well up front to put us in trouble and we did well to take it to the final ball.

‘It is always disappointing to lose at home.

‘We showed our character, though, by bouncing back with a hard-fought win at Bashley.

‘The game ebbed and flowed but we were worthy winners in the end.

‘After making a decent start we felt we should have maybe posted 30 to 40 more runs than we did.

‘In the latter stages of the game Cameron Prentice (two for 26) and Richard Hindley (three for 37) bowled beautifully and we backed them up with some good fielding.

‘It shows the resolve in the team after the events of the first week.

‘Bashley are one of the better teams in the league and we went there and did a job.

‘We played much better cricket and reached much higher standards than in our first game.’

Hopson, who hit 32, played his part in getting Havant back on the winning track, sharing an 80-run opening partnership with Hampshire’s Brad Taylor, who scored 81.

Skipper Ben Walker contributed 63 as he led from the front with an important innings batting at number three.

It proved a much better weekend for Havant as they also progressed in the National Village Cup the next day with a confident home win over Basingstoke & North Hants.

Hopson, who is confident in the strength of the squad, fired 38 and again proved influential, laying the foundations with a solid innings.

He added: ‘We have most bases covered.

‘Brad Taylor, who is still on the Hampshire staff, and Josh McCoy, playing for Hampshire seconds, are available to us on a regular basis.

‘We also have the experienced Richard Hindley, who has shown in the first few games that he is a big influence.

‘He always stands up and makes important contributions.’

Hopson believes batsmen like him can benefit from the introduction of white-ball cricket into the local game.

The harder white ball tends to swing less and comes off the bat faster.

‘It is exciting but you still have to apply the key principles of batting,’ added Hopson.