Havant to give youngsters chance to shine

Ross Parkin Picture: Mick Young
Ross Parkin Picture: Mick Young
Havant's Liam Mellor. Picture: Neil Marshall (171150-39)

Matthews delivers Havant rallying cry

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Havant go in search of a fifth consecutive win as they make the trek to Sidcup in London one south.

Will Knight’s team, however, are forced to make the trip minus some of their most experienced players.

The whole of the back-row that did so well against Chiswick are missing, with Graeme Butterworth playing Rugby 10s in the Middle East.

Knight accepts their absence will make life more difficult but has every faith in their replacements.

‘It is a chance for a number of our younger players who have been doing well to step up,’ said Knight.

‘These sort of games are important for the development of our squad.

‘Only Sutton & Epsom have beaten us twice this season and a target for the rest of the season is to maintain that record.

‘The way the league table is it won’t be easy to move up too many places, but we still want to collect the maximum number of points that we can.

‘We want to keep the belief and winning mentality going.’

Knight is encouraged by the return of Ross Parkin who is a big asset in the pack.

Hampshire One leaders Fareham Heathens cross to the Isle of Wight knowing nothing less than a win is needed to maintain their title push.

‘Travelling across to the island always seems tougher than any other away fixture,’ said coach Bernie Rhodes.

‘We are unbeaten on our travels this season but we know this will be tough.

‘The Isle of Wight have already taken a few scalps.’

The Fareham task has been made slightly more difficult with the absence of some key players.

Ryan Keary, Inia Qiolevu, Jarrod Hulett and Jonny Stoppard are all missing.

Ian Gardner starts in the second row, with Caz Aston slotting in at full-back.

Rikki Curtis adds to the pace and power of the back row.

‘Ultimately, I want to see us pick up a bonus point win,’ added Rhodes.

‘It doesn’t get any easier because after the Easter break we have three games against the teams immediately below us.’

Petersfield continue their fight to avoid relegation with a tough test at Farnborough.