Pete Hopson conceded that South Wilts were the better side on the day as Havant went down to a 72-run loss to their main title rivals in Southern Electric premier division.
If anyone was looking for an early-season indication of how the race for the crown may pan out, it’s hard to look beyond the defending champions at present.
They played the better cricket and it was their dayPete Hopson
They impressed with the bat and then tore through the Havant top order to end the run chase before it had a chance to get going.
In fairness, Havant showed some character to drag themselves back into the game after South Wilts had set off like a train.
Tom Morton (53) led the way for South Wilts before Joe Cranch (57) also chalked up a half-century.
But Stuart Ransley (four for 56) played a key part in putting the brakes on as the visitors were restricted to a 248 for nine.
Havant, however, were in all sorts of trouble early in their reply as they found themselves 11 for three and then 53 for six as James Hibberd (three for 25) and Ryan Duffield (three for 31) showed their qualities.
Richard Hindley (75), Jez Bulled (32) and Cam Prentice (32) showed some defiance but Havant were eventually bowled out for 176 in the penultimate over.
Player-coach Hopson said: ‘They played the better cricket.
‘It was their day and a couple of moments might have changed things but they were the better team on the day.
‘We bowled and fielded well in coming back at them.
‘They dominated for the first 15 overs but we did well to keep them down to 248 because they were going really well and once we got a couple of wickets, we kept them to a rate that we were happy with.
‘After 15 overs, we thought they were going to get way more than 300.
‘But then we were 11 for three and you are not going to win many games from that position.
‘They have got an exceptional opening bowling attack in Duffield and Hibberd and it was an extremely challenging period of play.
‘It was hard work and when so many batters nick off, it generally suggests that the attack is very good.
‘The frustrating thing was that nobody was able to get through that period to support Rich.
‘Had we been able to do that, we would have been in with a shout.
‘Rich fought his way through the end of the opening spells and showed what could have happened if some of the other batters had got through.
‘It’s disappointing to lose but we don’t feel we were too far away and we will keep going.’
Havant progressed in the ECB National Club Championship after opponents Basingstoke & North Hants were unable to raise a side and conceded yesterday’s fixture.