Chairman hails Hooks Lane cash boost

Havant celebrate their �47,000 Sport England funding. Picture: Mick Young (120159-02)
Havant celebrate their �47,000 Sport England funding. Picture: Mick Young (120159-02)
Dave Wheaton and the Fareham Heathens. Picture: Neil Marshall (171152-317)

Double trouble for heroic Heathens

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Havant are celebrating a major funding boost.

The Hooks Lane outfit were last week awarded £47,000 of Olympic Games legacy funding from Sport England’s inspired facilities fund.

The National three London & south east side were presented with the cheque this week by MP David Willetts.

And the investment will help the club improve its facilities.

Better floodlighting, increased training facilities, new showers and toilets, and improvements to the Hooks Lane clubhouse are all on the agenda.

Havant chairman John Mangnall believes the investment will make a massive difference to the club and their role within the local community.

‘The club is celebrating its 60th anniversary this season and we want to mark that by continuing to grow as a vibrant rugby community,’ he said.

‘To do this we need to nurture our players and members to increase participation and produce excellent retention levels.

‘It will help us make much-needed improvements to our infrastructure and will build on the already outstanding coaching and social environment at our club.’

Richard Lewis, chairman of Sport England, said: ‘This investment will create a fantastic sporting legacy for the Havant area.

‘This fund has really hit the mark with sports clubs in the south east.’

The inspired facilities fund is part of the £135 million Places People Play legacy programme, which is bringing the magic of London 2012 into communities across the country.

Every facility that receives funding will carry the London 2012 Inspire mark – celebrating the link to the games.

On the pitch, however, Havant continue to find life difficult.

After showing off their cheque, they were handed a 90-15 thrashing by league leaders Canterbury.

It was always going to be a difficult contest for the hosts but their cause wasn’t helped by the withdrawal of eight first-choice players with a virus last week.

Director of rugby Will Knight accepts his side, who prop up the table, are staring relegation in the face.

‘We are realistic enough to know the writing is on the wall for us,’ he said.

‘The lads who came in were magnificent in terms of commitment and application. Bizarrely, even with the final scoreline, Canterbury know they have been in a game.’

In the first half, Grant Morris got the home side on the scoresheet after collecting a lovely chip-kick ahead from James Read.

After the interval the home side snatched a second try when Read took a superb line off his centre to slide around two defenders and score.

Knight reckoned it was one of the side’s best tries of the season but in the end the quality of the visitors proved too much as they ran in 14 tries.

‘The important thing for us is we are putting the structure in place that will help us bounce back.

‘There is a great tradition at this club and if we do go down then the aim is to come back stronger in the next few years.

‘That is something everyone at the club is committed to.’