Stuart Ransley prepared for Havant’s biggest game of the season as he targeted a magnificent seven.
The club skipper, in his first season at the helm since succeeding Richard Hindley, has led the side to six straight Southern Electric Premier League wins to leave Havant sitting pretty at the top of the table.
Ransley tasted defeat as captain for the first time this season in last Sunday’s ECB Cup loss at Sussex-based Roffey.
But he is now expecting the club’s toughest test of their league campaign so far as they host defending champions South Wilts, who are lying in wait in second spot in the table with just one defet to their name.
Ransley said: ‘It’s the biggest game of the season so far and it will be the biggest test we’ve had.
‘It will be a very tough game but we’re up for it.
‘South Wilts look like our main rivals at the moment, especially because Bashley have lost twice already.
‘I can’t see who else will be challenging at the moment just based on the first half of the season.
‘We have been going along well but they have been picking up a lot of points as well.
‘They are a really good batting side. We will just play the same as we always do and stick to our own game.
‘We know what they’ve got but, hopefully, we can be ready for that.
‘It can get a bit vicious on the pitch and we all play quite hard.
‘But we respect each other and I’m sure everyone will be up for it.’
South Wilts showed their strength with the bat last week as they hit a mighty 345 for six in their 169-run success over Burridge.
Tom Morton hit a brilliant 161 in that success and could be the key wicket for Havant’s bowlers to target.
While some would think the winners of this clash would be seen as favourites for the crown, Ransley insists it is not a title decider at this stage of the season.
He said: ‘It would get us one step ahead but all it would take would be to lose one game and they would be right on our tails again.
‘They have taken maximum points in the past couple of games and caught us a little bit so we can’t take anything for granted, even if we did beat them.
‘Even if we beat them, I wouldn’t see that as a massive psychological advantage.
‘With other teams, I would say it is and they might fear us a bit more the second time around if we beat them.
‘But South Wilts are different and they back themselves to beat anyone on their day.’
Opening batsman Pete Hopson is a doubt for the clash, after pulling a hamstring in the ECB Cup defeat.
But having struck a century in last weekend’s league win over Lymington, he is determined to declare himself fit.
‘He is down to play so hopefully he will be fit,’ said Ransley.
‘I’m sure he is raring to go and it’s a game he definitely doesn’t want to miss.’
Havant continue their quest for silverware on Sunday as they travel to Bournemouth in the Southern Electric t20 Cup.
– STEVE WILSON