Waterlooville aim to keep unbeaten record

Chris Stone

Havant relish quest for double joy

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Promoted Waterlooville are chasing victory at Locks Heath to secure the Hampshire League division one title.

Ville shook off the tag of ‘nearly-men’ last weekend to clinch a return to the Southern Electric Premier League after an absence of more than 10 years.

Now captain Jon Hudson wants them to finish the season in style and seal the title.

‘We want to finish it off properly and maintain our unbeaten record,’ he said.

‘It has been a fantastic team effort all summer and it would be a shame to get beaten now.

‘Getting promoted means everything to us as a club because it is something we have been pushing for in recent years.

‘We might be getting the glory but what we have achieved is not just down to us.

‘There have been a lot of people over the years who have put in a lot of hard work.

‘When we first dropped out of the Southern League a number of people made sure the club continued and kept bringing through the youngsters.

‘Last season the second and third teams both got promoted and we have been able to build on that momentum.’

The impact of overseas opening batsman Byron Haycock has been a major factor in Ville’s success.

The South African has taken bowling attacks apart, scoring more than 1,000 runs in the campaign.

But it has not been just a one-man show for Ville.

Sam Hillman, who has come up through the ranks with Ville, has taken 35 wickets – no mean feat in such a competitive environment.

Consistency has been the key with Hudson using only 13 players throughout the season.

‘The fact we have used so few players is testimony to how committed the squad have been,’ he said.

‘Everyone has appreciated the challenge and generally not taken holidays.

‘We know we will have to try and keep that going next year at the higher level.

‘Though we might look to strengthen in one or two areas, we are likely to go with the core of the team that has earned promotion.

‘I have never played at that level before but I am convinced we can more than hold our own next year.

‘We have a lot of talented youngsters coming through the ranks who will be pushing for a place soon.

‘Also, in our under-11s we have four or five Hampshire players.’

Ville would love to entice Haycock back to Rowlands Avenue for their first season back at the higher level.

Hudson admits that is a conversation to be had with the South African ace after this weekend.

The Waterlooville skipper will field an unchanged side for the trip to Locks Heath.

Waterlooville: Byron Haycock, Alex Shephard, Alex Lamont, Max Goddard, David Howe, Matt Charman, Jon Hudson, Sam Hillman, Andrew Reynolds, John Burnett, Nathan White

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