Hopson: Havant must take chance

Jez Ord
Jez Ord
Gareth Berg bowling in Hampshire's win against Surrey. Picture: Neil Marshall

Crane and Rossouw fire as Hampshire maintain strong start

Have your say

Pete Hopson has urged his Havant team-mates to grasp their opportunity ahead of a pivotal weekend for the club.

The reliable opening batsman has weighed in with more than 500 runs in both Southern Electric premier division and cup fixtures this season.

Havant will be strong favourites to win tomorrow’s league showdown at bottom club Bournemouth to continue their recent form.

But Hopson believes Sunday’s ECB National Championship clash, with old foes Ealing, is a chance to right some of the wrongs of last season.

They went down to a shock six-wicket home loss to Wanstead & Snaresbrook in the semi-final of the competition.

Hopson said: ‘We missed a huge opportunity last year.

‘I remember we got some interesting umpiring decisions that day but we didn’t bat anywhere near our full potential.

‘I got 54 but then got myself run out trying to push things on.

‘But the wicket got better and better as the day went on and they batted well to go on and win.

‘I love those big games and I really enjoy playing in the ECB Club Championship.

‘You get to face different bowlers who don’t know much about you. But it’s all on the day.

‘The annoying thing was that Wanstead got absolutely pumped in the final against York.

‘If we had managed to get 60-70 more runs on the board, it would have been a different game.

‘But I do quite a bit of research for the team – I’m a bit of a badger in that respect – so we know enough about Ealing.

‘The important thing is that the winner of this game will have home advantage all the way to the semi-finals.

‘The other thing is that the three other semi-finalists from last year are already out so we know we have a real chance of at least getting to the semi-final again.’

After a rocky start to the campaign for the former premier division champions, Havant have clicked into gear again lately.

And while Hopson has warned of the dangers of Bournemouth’s overseas batsman Alex Keath, he believes Havant and South Wilts will battle for the title.

Hopson said: ‘As a team, we’re coming back a little bit. I think, in the end, it will come down to us and South Wilts.

‘We’re three points on average behind South Wilts and we play them next weekend, which will be a huge game.

‘Both teams are scrapping it out and Ventnor might have a say in it but South Wilts have also lost one of their best players to a broken finger in Eddie Abel.

‘We’ve got Bournemouth this weekend and we need to keep getting 16 or 17 points out of every game.

‘Alex Keath is one of the leading batsmen in the league and has done some amazing work for them.

‘He is someone we will need to get early to get an outright win.’

Havant are waiting on the fitness of Jez Ord (calf) but Andy Gorvin is on stand-by to step in.

HAVANT: Richard Hindley, Jez Bulled, Rob Gibson,

Pete Hopson, Chris Stone, Chris Morgan, Steve Dean,

Stuart Ransley, Ben Walker, Steve Matthews, Jez Ord.