Havant seek South Wilts revenge

Havant skipper Stuart Ransley
Havant skipper Stuart Ransley
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Pete Hopson claims Havant are favourites to exact some speedy revenge on their big rivals South Wilts this weekend.

The two Southern Electric Premier League heavyweights meet again at the County Ground in Salisbury in the ECB National Club Championship group final on Sunday, 24 hours after they both continue their quest for the league crown.

After a convincing win over Sarisbury last week, Havant travel to Lymington, while South Wilts visit struggling Burridge.

But the Havant player-coach believes a couple of vital changes in personnel could make all the difference as Havant bid to settle a score after their 72-run home loss in the league three weeks ago.

South Wilts will be missing duo Ryan Duffield and Sean Terry, who are both ineligible, from their ranks.

Overseas players and county contracted professionals are not permitted to play, so Duffield – who came up just one wicket short in his attempts to take all 10 against Sarisbury recently – and Terry, who has forced his way into Hampshire’s first-team plans, are both ruled out.

Havant, however, will also have to cope without a key player with Brad Wheal also missing.

Hopson said: ‘It will be interesting because they will be without Duffield and Terry, while we will be without Brad Wheal.

‘We will be close to full strength so we will see what sort of impact that has on the game. I think it might affect them more than it does us.

‘Their batting will have slightly less depth and their bowling will be weakened.

‘So I might even make us slight favourites in this format.’

The winners will secure a clash with either Guildford or Roffey in the next stage of the 45-over competition and Havant are keen to enjoy another profitable run.

Hopson said: ‘We are still in three competitions and the ECB National Cup is always seen as a big competition at Havant.

‘We’ve got to two national semi-finals in the past 10 to 12 years and we are desperate to do well because we’ve got lots of home-grown players.

‘Some of the younger guys have not experienced some of the really big games in this competition but it means a lot to all of us.’

Havant, however, must first prioritise their league campaign as they make the trip to a Lymington side which has lost both of their timed games so far, although last week’s loss to Hampshire Academy was by just 10 runs.

But Stuart Ransley’s side are in good form after their 153-run demolition of Sarisbury and several players appear to be running into good form at the same time.

Hopson expects that form to be taken into both fixtures.

He said: ‘It’s great if you can carry the form from one format to the other.

‘We played some really good stuff against Sarisbury last week – some of the best cricket we have played this season.

‘But now we have to treat them as two separate games.

‘Timed cricket and 45-over cricket are quite a bit different.

‘But there are a lot of the same principles in trying to put the opposition under pressure.’