Havant get off the mark

Havant ladies' Katie Pugh
Havant ladies' Katie Pugh
Katie Spooner is aiming high for City of Portsmouth Ladies. Picture: Keith Woodland

Developing talents can boost City glory bid

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Havant recorded their first league win of the season as they handed out a lesson in hockey to the University of Birmingham on Sunday.

Having endured three consecutive defeats since the start of the new Men’s Conference West campaign, the Havant College-based side were keen to kick-start their season and gain ground on neighbours Fareham.

And they did just that, running out comfortable 3-0 winners on their trip to the Midlands, while Fareham earned a creditable 1-1 draw at Guildford.

Fareham captain John Grice will have been pleased with his charges’ showing, particularly as they played part of the game with nine men – Ben Hibberd and Chris Boyland seeing green after Lawrence Pike had given the visitors the lead.

But it was the showing of Havant’s young side that will have surprised most, with Pol Soms Irazola, Andy Pett and Oliver Nail all netting in their impressive win.

With Bruno Gorrini and Satchi Reddy both failing to convert first-half chances when well placed, it was Irazola who showed his team-mates how it is done just before the interval when he rounded two defenders, before slotting the ball past the home keeper.

The university side intensified their efforts as they went in search of an equaliser after the break but it was Havant who struck again after Craig Duffy and Pett pressurised a home defender into a mistake, with the latter applying the finishing touch to enhance the visitors’ lead.

And playing with real confidence, Havant rounded off the win when youngster Nail applied the finishing touch to Pett’s cross.

The win sees Havant remain second from bottom above pointless Bristol Firebrands.

But there is still daylight between them and sixth-placed Fareham, who will have been buoyed by their performance in Surrey – taking their points tally up to five.

Guildford could not match the visitors’ intensity and work-rate for long periods of Saturday’s game and should have been behind after Hibberd and Simon Mason combined to put Alex Boxall through.

The breakthrough wasn’t long in coming, though, with debutant Pike pouncing 10 minutes after the break.

A green card shown to Hibberd presented the home side with the chance to level matters.

And when Boyland followed suit minutes later, a home victory looked on the cards,

But keeper Harris proved up to the task, saving Fareham on several occasions to earn them a valuable point.

n Vicky Kimber struck to earn Havant a point against Hampstead & Westminster in South Club’s Women’s League division one.

Katie Pugh almost added to Kimber’s opener with a close-range effort after a storming run– only for the visiting keeper to block.