Havant look at the bigger picture in selection call

15/6/13     ''Havant batsman Peter Hopson playing against Totton''Picture: Paul Jacobs  (131682-1)
15/6/13 ''Havant batsman Peter Hopson playing against Totton''Picture: Paul Jacobs (131682-1)
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Havant are weighing up the prospect of dropping first-team players into their second team for their Southern Electric Premier League division three promotion showdown with Portsmouth.

The premier division outfit saw their own hopes of title success take a hefty dent last weekend as they went down to leaders South Wilts.

But with second-placed Havant II set to face neighbours and division three leaders Portsmouth at St Helen’s tomorrow, the club are desperate to decrease the gap between the teams and are toying with selecting first-team regulars in the seconds.

Club stalwarts Pete Hopson, Ben Walker and Stuart Ransley would be the most likely candidates to drop down to join Andy Galliers’ ranks, although Havant Park officials were remaining tight-lipped after their midweek selection meeting.

Skipper Richard Hindley believes the greater good of the club as a whole should be taken into account, though – even if the decision would not be welcomed in all quarters in the spirit of the league.

Hindley said: ‘You play for the cricket club, you don’t play for the first team or the second team.

‘I think sometimes you have to remember that.

‘It’s all about the greater good of the club.

‘If you can be flexible in your approach as a player and as a captain, I think that helps.

‘That’s how clubs have been run for years and how they have been successful over the years.

‘It’s a big step up between division three and the premier division.

‘The closer you get the two teams, the better it is for the club as a whole.’

Portsmouth skipper Dave Henderson believes it would serve as extra motivation to his side if Havant did choose to strengthen their second team to play his side.

He laughed: ‘I’m sure they wouldn’t stoop that low.

‘But we will gladly play whichever team they send – that’s absolutely fine.

‘I would take it as a compliment if they did strengthen their side just to try to beat us. I’d be happy about it. I think it would actually work as extra motivation for us and would be even sweeter if we can win the game.

‘I can honestly say in 25 years, I can’t remember any time we have done something like that.

‘But our guys have stepped up in the bigger games this season and I’m sure they will again.’

Havant’s first team host Alton with their title aspirations hanging by a thread.

And Hindley believes his men now need to win all of their six remaining games to stop South Wilts from completing a league and cup double.

But potentially weakening the first team for a tricky clash against Alton would suggest Havant might have already thrown the towel in.

Hindley said: ‘Losing against South Wilts has made it much harder for us.

‘They played really well, although we also helped a little bit at times.

‘We are still just about in contention, we have six games to go and funny things can happen.

‘But I think any of the other teams need to win all of their remaining games to have any chance of catching South Wilts.

‘They need to slip-up at least once and possibly twice.’