Havant and Fareham go West in search of glory

Bronze medal winners Helen Richardson, right, and Kate Walsh meet Havant youngsters Abi Brader, eight, Matthew Saunders, six, and Ella Saunders (10)

Bronze medal winners Helen Richardson, right, and Kate Walsh meet Havant youngsters Abi Brader, eight, Matthew Saunders, six, and Ella Saunders (10)

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Havant and Fareham begin their bids for conference west glory tomorrow.

Fareham, who finished mid-table last term after flirting with relegation, welcome Whitchurch to Henry Cort Community College (1.30pm).

Meanwhile, fresh from unveiling a new playing surface at Havant College in front of a crowd of 400 people, Havant will be looking for a fast start at Guildford (midday).

Olympic bronze medallists Kate Walsh and Helen Richardson joined the mayor and mayoress of Havant, the president of Hampshire Hockey and county councillor David Guest at Sunday’s opening ceremony.

The Horndean Band played as Walsh and Richardson cut the ribbon, with Havant’s oldest club member Jack Cook, 93, looking on.

It was a memorable day for the historic club, who recently had their hopes of two new pitches at Warblington School dashed.

They still harbour ambitions of moving to a new site with two pitches and a clubhouse in future.

In the meantime, though, they have had their Havant College home relaid at a cost of £300,000.

The new surface is the same quality as that of the Olympic Park’s Riverbank Arena, where Richardson and Team GB skipper Walsh grabbed a bronze medal this summer.

Havant’s first team play their maiden competitive fixture on the pitch when Fareham visit on Sunday, September 23.

Tomorrow, though, they will have to overcome a familiar face to make a winning start to the league campaign at Broadwater School, Godalming.

Teacher Craig Mullen has signed for Guildford after moving schools – and is one of a number of comings and goings at Havant over the summer.

Eight players have left for pastures new.

Sam Hatherely, Daniel Faulkner and Ben Mackey have all left for university, James Lester is in the USA training to be a commercial pilot, Ali Pollard is undergoing training at Sandhurst, while Sumeet Singh has returned to India.

In addition, Jon Smedley – like Mullen – has also moved away from the area to take up a new teaching post.

Havant have moved quickly to find replacements, although they are still set to field a young team this term.

England youngster Gurmukh Bhamra has joined, while studying at the University of Portsmouth.

Gerrald Cox has arrived from Chichester, Argentinian Bruno Gorrini from Spain, while South Africa under-21 international Satchi Reddi is set to complete his move in the coming weeks.

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