Hopson: We’re in real sniff of title

Left-hander Ben Walker, left, and fellow openerr Pete Hopson Picture: Mick Young
Left-hander Ben Walker, left, and fellow openerr Pete Hopson Picture: Mick Young
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Pete Hopson believes Havant are back in the hunt for the Southern Electric Premier League title and has declared: We can make a run on the rails.

The Havant opener helped his side to a pulsating two-run win over rivals Ventnor last weekend and post-match celebrations were extended when news of leaders South Wilts’ defeat to Lymington filtered through.

Suddenly the title race, which looked done and dusted for a few weeks, is back up in the air again.

Havant are still outsiders to land the silverware ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Totton & Eling but Hopson thinks differently.

And it is no passing whim.

The Havant stalwart takes great pride in analysing statistics and feels his side have plenty of factors on their side as they try to make a late run for the crown.

Hopson explained: ‘We couldn’t believe it when we heard South Wilts and Bashley had lost last week. It was a big bonus.

‘And I think it has given us a sniff of winning the title again.

‘South Wilts are missing three key players now.

‘Ryan Burl has gone back to Zimbabwe, Steve Riddle dislocated his shoulder last week and Eddie Abel has broken fingers.

‘That is a big loss for them and they have got a properly tough run-in.

‘I’ve looked at it and we’ve got the best run-in of the three teams in contention.’

Hopson has not been alone in his number-crunching exercises and assessed the challengers with a keen assistant at his side.

He explained: ‘Everyone already knows I am a bit of a badger but myself and my dad have worked out what we need to do.

‘We spent hours working it all out – the Hopson household is the place to be!

‘We need to win all three of our games, South Wilts need to lose two and we will win the league.

‘We’ve seen a few different variations but we think around 63 points from our three games will give us a chance of the title and we think South Wilts need 35 points to win it. Havant always have the reputation of coming through late so we need to take advantage of that and hope that South Wilts slip up.’

Havant’s hopes have not been helped with the loss of skipper Richard Hindley for the remainder of the campaign as he undertakes a work placement in Kenya.

Vice-captain and wicketkeeper Jez Bulled is also ruled out for the final three games after breaking two fingers in the win over Ventnor last week.

So that means Hopson will take the gloves for the trip to Totton, while Stuart Ransley is expected to be named as skipper. Hopson said: ‘We will be missing Rich and Jez but I think we can cope with that.

‘Chris Morgan is also missing but we have got Ben Walker coming back into form.

‘He bowled beautifully last weekend and Jez Ord did really well, too.

‘Those two are bowling really well and we have got enough batsmen scoring runs.

‘I think we have got enough good players to beat Totton.’

He added: ‘I don’t mind keeping wicket.

‘I’ve got a few dismissals and I’m looking forward to it.’