Hindley out as Havant turn up heat

Havant bowler Chris Morgan bowls to Seth Jackson last weekend
Havant bowler Chris Morgan bowls to Seth Jackson last weekend
The Ageas Bowl Picture: Neil Marshall

Ageas Bowl snubbed for Ashes but to host new T20 competition

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Havant will have to further their challenge for the Southern Electric league and cup double without their talisman this weekend.

The title-chasers face a tricky trip across the Solent to Ventnor as they bid to turn up the heat on leaders South Wilts, who hold a slender four-point advantage at the top of the table.

And 24 hours later, Havant travel to Lymington in the T20 Cup semi-final with the incentive of a final under the floodlights at the Ageas Bowl on offer to the winners.

But while Havant will be considered as favourites for both fixtures, they will have to make do without the influential Richard Hindley – whose six wickets set up the thumping win over Burridge last weekend.

Player-coach, Pete Hopson, said: ‘Rich is away on holiday, which is a blow.

‘He bowled really well last week.

‘We have coped without players in the past and it’s up to someone will step up and do the job.

‘We were forced to open the bowling with Rich last week because Ben Walker missed the first 45 minutes of the game through work.

‘If there was a team that might open with a spinner, it would be us.

‘But he did a great job and took six wickets.

‘He just did his usual thing but now it’s up to someone else to show what they can do.’

While he is hoping rivals South Wilts slip up as they host St Cross, Hopson insists Havant have their own issues to worry about as they try to crank up the pressure.

He said: ‘We’re trying to concentrate on ourselves.

‘We had a relatively easy win last weekend and South Wilts aren’t batting as well as they were five or six weeks ago.

‘We think there is plenty of pressure on them.

‘They are four points ahead but they are not going quite as well as they were.

‘So hopefully St Cross can do us a favour.’

The Islanders have gone under the radar for much of this term but are in fourth place and boast the leading run-scorer in the division.

Tom Friend has hit five half-centuries and has reached three figures once but has 459 runs to his name at an average of 57.38.

Hopson, however, knows there are plenty of players to be wary of in the Ventnor ranks.

He said: ‘No matter what team you are, travelling to the Isle of Wight to play Ventnor is always a tricky proposition.

‘They know their ground quite well and it’s a tough game.

‘They have got some really good players.

‘Tom Friend is the leading run-scorer, Jake George has been at Hampshire and Michael Bates has been playing a few games for them.

‘But they have plenty of others. They have got a lot of talent and we appreciate that.’

The attention switches to the semi-final for the Lymington showdown and Hopson is keen to return to the Ageas Bowl.

He said: ‘The T20 Cup is a competition we like to do well in.

‘The attraction of playing at the Ageas Bowl under the floodlights is a nice one for the players to try to achieve.’