Matthews delivers Havant rallying cry

Havant's Liam Mellor. Picture: Neil Marshall (171150-39)
Havant's Liam Mellor. Picture: Neil Marshall (171150-39)
Havant's Ben Brierley. Picture: Neil Marshall (171150-14)

Hooks Lane fortress breached as Havant crash

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Rob Matthews has urged Havant to stand up and be counted as they scrap to get back on track.

The Hooks Lane director of rugby has left his troops under no illusions about the importance of the trip to Cobham in London one south tomorrow.

After stuttering performances against Medway and CS Rugby in recent weeks, he knows it is crucial they taste success again.

Havant showed their quality in spells against both rivals – but were unable to deliver a complete performance.

That has to change, according to Matthews.

He said: ‘This weekend is very important. We always knew the last two games against semi-professional sides would be tough.

‘Even so we showed glimpses in both games we are capable of competing with the best.

‘The bread and butter in this league, though, has always been making sure you compete against every team.

‘So we are looking for an 80-minute performance at Cobham.’

Havant are boosted by the return of front-row powerhouses Luke Marks and Jerome Trail on the replacements bench.

In the back row, Liam Mellor returns from injury.

Young scrum-half Alex Bishop gets the opportunity to show what he can do in his maiden first-team start of the season.

Matthews expects Cobham to present Havant with a stiff examination.

‘Cobham have had some good results, including a win at Chichester,’ he said.

‘We lost at their place last season – a result that eventually cost us our place in the play-off.

‘We have to make sure we go there with the right attitude.

‘As we move forward as a squad, any defeat is damaging.

‘So it is important we get back to showing we can be one of the top sides. If we want to achieve promotion, these are the sort of games we need to win.’

Unbeaten Hampshire one leaders United Services travel to fifth placed Sandown & Shanklin.

Facing the Hurricanes on their own territory is never an easy proposition.

But Services, under the leadership of player-coach Rich Neil, have carried all before them so far this season.

They produced an excellent performance in beating Millbrook 33-22 last week.

Neil knows his side cannot afford to slip up with Bognor breathing down their necks just one point adrift.