Fareham Heathens are aiming for the top

Fareham Heathens are on the up. Picture: Mick Young
Fareham Heathens are on the up. Picture: Mick Young
Dylan Raubenheimer. Picture: Ian Hargreaves

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Fareham Heathens are aiming for the top of Hampshire one as they host Isle of Wight in their rearranged game at Cams Alders tomorrow (2.15pm).

The original game between the two teams was abandoned in the first half, following a serious leg injury to a visiting player.

A bonus-point win will see Heathens leapfrog leading pair Millbrook and Bognor into pole position.

That is where coach Bernie Rhodes wants his team to be.

He said: ‘To be top of the table in only our second season back in Hampshire one would be a massive achievement.

‘The fact we are in contention for the league title makes me very proud as a coach.

‘The squad have worked very hard on doing the basics right.

‘At the same time, we have played some expansive rugby when the conditions have allowed.’

Heathens haven’t been beaten since losing on the opening day of the season at home against Millbrook

‘Beating league-leaders Bognor just before Christmas was also a massive result for us,’ added Rhodes.

‘Our discipline has improved, along with our structure and defence.

‘In our past two games we have scored 85 points without reply.

‘The only disappointment is we have not secured as many bonus points as we should have and this may become more relevant as the season progresses.

‘There are no easy games in this league but if we win all our remaining games then we will be in a strong position to go up.’

Rhodes is in no doubt Heathens are ready to make the step up.

‘The club and players have aspirations to be promoted,’ said Rhodes.

‘To be successful we need to recruit more players as well as continue bringing our younger players through.

‘The proposed redevelopment of Cams Alders in partnership with Fareham Borough Council and Fareham Town football club will provide fantastic facilities to support us in this.

‘The introduction of an all-weather surface would be a massive bonus.’

On the pitch Heathens have been boosted by excellent youngsters.

At outside-half Cam Guthrie has improved his game management and worked very hard on his kicking from hand and at goal.

Former colt Chris Webb is an ever-present in the front row and rarely takes a step backwards.

In the back-row, Michael West, who joined from Winchester, has given the side a dynamic breakdown expert and a massive tackling presence.

Fijian Inia Qiolevu, who joined this season, has also added an extra dimension to the back-row with his powerful running style.

They also have great finishers in the back three of Jashan Solanki, Steve Devoy and Ryan Keary.