Heathens ready for re-run of Chineham ‘humdinger’

Andy Burns
Andy Burns
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Fareham Heathens are expecting a hard day at the office as they welcome Chineham to Cams Alders in Snows Group Hampshire One.

It is a re-run of last season’s Hampshire Plate final, when Heathens edged a narrow win in extra-time.

There is still little to choose between the two teams, who sit third and fourth in the league respectively.

‘The plate final game was a humdinger last season,’ said coach Bernie Rhodes.

‘We won it in the end with a Cam Guthrie penalty in the second period of extra-time.

‘Chineham have been on a good run this season and we know all about them.

‘They possess a strong, dynamic pack with good runners in the three-quarters.’

The home side are without Marc Oak in the centre, after he damaged his hand on his return to the side in the abandoned game against the Isle of Wight.

That encounter was called to a halt in the first half when one of the visiting prop forwards broke his leg.

‘It was unfortunate but the right decision was made to call the game off,’ said Rhodes.

‘The good news is their player has had a successful operation.’

One area that concerned Rhodes in that game before it was halted was a lack of discipline from his team.

Heathens conceded nine penalties in the opening 27 minutes and that wasn’t acceptable to the coach.

His team will need to be far more disciplined if they are to repeat their success over their visitors.

‘Chineham were very good at disrupting our set-piece ball,’ added Rhodes.

‘They cut out a lot of the good, quality line-out ball that Matt Smith usually provides us in the middle and at the back of the line-out.

‘Our front row of Chris Webb, Andy Burns and Richard Green can also expect to be tested to the full.

‘We have worked hard on our set-piece play and should be stronger in that area.

‘How we cope in this area will be critical to success.’

Basement club Locks Heath Pumas host fellow strugglers Petersfield at Brookfield School.

Pumas have found life tough in Hampshire One after last season’s promotion, but a bonus-point win could lift them above their visitors.