Walker picks up Havant baton and eyes title challenge

Stuart Ransley has stepped down as Havant captain    Picture: Mick Young
Stuart Ransley has stepped down as Havant captain Picture: Mick Young
Stuart Ransley stepped it up against South Wilts. Picture: Neil Marshall

Havant confident league crown will be secured

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New Havant captain Ben Walker has champions South Wilts in his sights as he takes over from Stuart Ransley at Havant Park.

Walker takes charge for the first time as Havant open up their Southern League premier division season at Alton tomorrow.

South Wilts have dominated in the last few years and set the standard for all the other teams in the league.

Walker would love to see his team take over from them at the top.

‘Stuart Ransley has done a terrific job in setting the foundations in his stint as captain,’ said Walker.

‘Now the baton has been passed onto me.

‘For the last two seasons we have been knocking on the door but when the big moments came along we didn’t deliver.

‘We are all aware that it was our failure to do so that made the difference.

‘As a group we have a desire to finish champions and that is our ultimate goal.

‘It won’t be easy because this league is very competitive but we would love to take back the crown.’

The return of Andy Gorvin from the Hampshire Academy will make a big difference and Walker views him as a big addition to the squad.

He has played second XI cricket for Hampshire and his experience at a higher level should help Havant raise the standard.

Gorvin spent the winter playing in Australia and while in Melbourne with the Camberwell Magpies he made a number of important links.

As a result, Havant will enjoy the services of 21-year-old left-arm spinner Tom Vanderslick who is venturing to these shores for the first time this summer.

For the opening game, however, Havant are missing a few regular first-choice players.

Robert Gibson is at Durham University while Chris Morgan and Cameron Prentice are also unavailable.

Hampshire Women’s cricketer Emily Windsor is drafted in to make her second appearance for the Havant senior side.

Windsor made her debut last season and did well.

‘Emily plays for Hampshire Ladies where she is a prolific run maker and wicket-taker,’ said Walker.

‘She is also a very knowledgeable cricketer and excellent in the field.’

Havant: Ben Walker, Stuart Ransley, Peter Hopson, Richard Hindley, Chris Stone, Steve Matthews, 
Gerry Bullard, Simon Loat, Andy Gorvin, 
Tom Vanderslik, Emily Windsor

Ventnor face the toughest opening-day challenge as they host champions South Wilts at Steephill.

Burridge start at home against Hampshire Academy.