King hails young guns

Havant's Graeme Butterworth
Havant's Graeme Butterworth
Anthony Fooks. Picture: Neil Marshall (171124-346)

Pearce: Best is yet to come from Portsmouth

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Havant travel to Civil Service for their final National League three London & south east game with the shackles off after escaping relegation.

Whatever happens in the final round of matches, Havant cannot be caught by Hampshire rivals Basingstoke.

And King saluted the efforts of his young guns when looking back over a tough season at Hooks Lane.

‘We are delighted not to be going into the final game with our fate still in the balance,’ said director of rugby Adam King.

‘It has been a long, hard season and it is a relief for everyone at the club that we finally got ourselves over the line.

‘Our main problem all season has been a crippling series of injuries to our more senior players which has badly depleted our ranks.

‘In that sense, it is a huge tribute to the young players who have come in and helped us achieve our goal.

‘They have stepped up to the plate and been prepared to be counted when it mattered.

‘Over the past four weeks – as the experienced players have come back – we have become more competitive again.

‘The aim now is to go to Civil Service with the shackles off and play our rugby.

‘We want to go there, put in a decent shift and put down a marker for next season.’

Experienced forward Graeme Butterworth returns after he missed last weekend’s match.

Gavin Hart and scrum-half Liam Davenport are away, though.

Elsewhere, Jarryd Robinson is rested because he is in Hampshire under-20 action on Sunday.

King now faces a busy summer bolstering his squad in a bid to avoid another season battling relegation.

‘In these days of semi-professionalism it is getting tougher and tougher,’ he said.

‘I believe it’s important to be able to offer this level of rugby in the area.

‘We’ve seen this season a packed Hooks Lane is a vibrant arena for rugby and the supporters deserve it.

‘The youngsters coming through our successful academy want to progress into the National League.

‘It will all come down to a lot of hard work and the need to remain totally focused.’

HAVANT: McSeveny, Keyte, Morris, Stenhouse, Duke, Knight, Booth, Stapleton. Wells, Cutting, Wheeler, Neill, Matthews, Butterworth, Frith, Barfoot, Marks, Osborne.