Havant bid to finish the job

Havant's Pete Hopson
Havant's Pete Hopson
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Sam Northeast during the press conference at the Ageas Bowl on Friday. Picture: www.davevokes.photography

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Pete Hopson insists he won’t mind if Havant’s charge towards the Southern Electric Premier League title is denied a final-day decider.

The Havant player-coach saw his side reach the summit of the premier division last weekend after they crushed St Cross by 114 runs, while title-rivals South Wilts crashed to a shock six-wicket loss to Lymington.

That saw the two clubs swap places at the top of the table ahead of tomorrow’s fixtures as Havant host Lymington, while the reigning champions travel to Burridge.

Rick Ankers’ side gave their survival hopes a huge boost when they beat Totton & Eling last week and certainly have plenty to play for themselves as they bid to stay in the division.

But while Hopson knows Lymington are among the form sides in the division, he will have no complaints if Burridge do his club a favour, which could yet leave the final weekend as something of an after-thought.

Hopson said: ‘As long as we win two games of cricket, I’ll be happy.

‘I don’t really care about the circumstances.

‘Of course, it would be a much more momentous game if it went to the last weekend.

‘But it doesn’t matter as long as we win the league.

‘I think there have been a few instances of a title decider, but not for a little while.

‘We get those sorts of games more often in the National Cup and the t20.

‘If it does come down to that last game, we have an understanding of what playing in big games is like.

‘But Lymington are on form.

‘They beat us in the t20, they beat South Wilts last week and they have done really well lately.

‘They have got dangerous players so there will no complacency from us.

‘We will be looking to get the maximum from that game so that we will be bang in form for the final weekend.’

One major factor that could yet influence the title race is the weather.

But Havant are now in the driving seat if the games are affected.

‘We are top of the table now so if there is any rain, it helps us significantly,’ said Hopson.

‘Psychologically, South Wilts will be chasing the game in both matches.

‘But if both games are played, whoever wins that match on the final day will be league champions.

‘I think we are all expecting that to be the case and it’s more than likely going to come down to that final weekend.

‘But I would love us to beat South Wilts on that final day.’

Elsewhere in the premier division, Ventnor could do Burridge a big favour if they win at bottom club Totton & Eling.

In division one, Sarisbury Athletic must win at Liphook & Ripsley to maintain their hopes of promotion, while Hambledon visit Fawley.

In division two, Havant II have climbed away from imminent danger after their vital win over Hartley Wintney and travel to OTs & Romsey.

Portsmouth, meanwhile, host Paultons, before hosting their charity fixture the following day.

In division three, Portsmouth & Southsea gave themselves hope of staying up with a crucial victory last week and need to beat Alton II.

Mid-table Waterlooville make the trip to league leaders Tichborne Park.