Havant coach delights in growth of Hooks Lane squad

Havant's Joe Davis. Picture: Mick Young (143355-04)
Havant's Joe Davis. Picture: Mick Young (143355-04)
Dave Wheaton and the Fareham Heathens. Picture: Neil Marshall (171152-317)

Double trouble for heroic Heathens

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In-form Havant are chasing a fourth consecutive London one south win as Chiswick make the journey to Hooks Lane tomorrow (3pm).

Will Knight’s team will be in a confident mood after beating second-placed Guildford and are looking to avenge an early-season defeat in west London.

On that day they suffered a narrow defeat to their competitive hosts.

‘It was a bizarre game that finished in almost total darkness,’ said the head coach.

‘The entire game was played in a quagmire and we went down by one or two points.

‘We can expect Chiswick to prove a handful again but I feel we have grown a lot as a side since then.

‘There is a growing expectation among our players they can win games.

‘We’re no longer regarding ourselves as gallant and valiant losers.

‘That has been one of the real positive developments since Christmas.

‘It is important we keep building the expectations players have of each other and themselves.’

Knight is delighted to name an unchanged pack of forwards after they dominated the second half in the Guildford game.

The performance of the forwards laid the foundations for Havant to overturn a 12-point deficit and triumph.

In an outstanding pack, wing-forward Joe Davis stood out with a powerful display.

Knight is hoping for another powerhouse display.

‘Joe has been a fantastic asset since he joined us last season after playing National League rugby,’ said Knight.

‘He is head of sport at Boundary Oak School in Fareham.

‘In the past he worked as an analyst at Sale and is a good reader of the game.

‘He is also multi-talented and can play anywhere across the back row and even in the second row. Against Guildford he had one of those games, making tackles, carrying the ball and his support play was exceptional.

‘He knows what he is doing and has become a real asset for us.

‘There is no reason why he shouldn’t be able to do the same this weekend.’

Havant make a change in the three-quarters with Joel Knight returning to centre and Dave Sweeney coming in at outside half.

Will Knight added ‘The players are in a buoyant mood after beating Guildford. It is always nice to beat teams at the top – particularly when you come from behind to do it.

‘That was down to our fitness and the impact of players off the bench.

‘We feel we are getting stronger. We are fielding strong teams at both first and second team levels this weekend.

‘They are the strongest we have put out for some time.’

HAVANT: Pete Living, Loz Blackburn, Ben Brierley, Joel Knight, Luke Warrington, Dave Sweeney, Jake Hewitt, Luke Marks, Steve Cruddas, Justin Powell, Ross Parkin, Luke Barfoot, Graeme Butterworth, Joe Davis, Gav Hart. Replacements: Jake Biggs, Jerome Trail, Jake Reynolds