Stone rocks up to boost Havant’s glory bid

Havant's Chris Stone
Havant's Chris Stone
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New Hampshire signing Sam Northeast  Picture: Tom Dulat/Getty Images

Hampshire head to Northeast for success

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Jez Bulled believes Havant’s season hinges on the next week, with a series of crucial fixtures packed in.

The defending Southern Electric Premier League champions travel to struggling Ventnor tomorrow, before visiting Birmingham-based outfit Barnt Green in the ECB Kingfisher Cup 24 hours later.

Havant edged themselves into that clash thanks only to Chris Stone’s efforts against Teddington last weekend – as the 19-year-old led his side to victory in the face of almost certain defeat.

Chasing 125 on a tricky pitch, Stone hit an unbeaten 42, with Havant teetering on the brink at 58 for five and 90 for eight.

Vice-captain Bulled said: ‘It was incredibly tight and it was always going to be a low-scoring game because the pitch was still damp.

‘Chris batted beautifully. He’s a very good player and has come through the Hampshire Academy so has got plenty of pedigree.

‘He batted with no fear and that kind of attitude should stand us in good stead for these next few games.

‘He played some cleverly-calculated attacking shots but also kept the strike a lot. It was hugely impressive.’

While Bulled does not know much about Sunday’s opponents, former England one-day international and ex-Warwickshire star Dougie Brown skippers their Saturday side.

‘These games are always a bit of an unknown quantity but we know that Dougie Brown plays for them so they must be a very decent side,’ said Bulled.

‘Then again, they won’t know too much about us, either, so we will see who is the stronger on the day.

‘We generally get our comeuppance in the previous round so this is a bonus for us.

‘We’re a step further than we’ve been for the past few years and it’s all about how you perform on the day.

‘But we’ve got plenty to play for this season.

‘I still think the league might be beyond us, but we can do well in the cups.’

In division two, Southern Electric t20 Cup semi-finalists Sarisbury Athletic upset Alton during the week and now face a trip to Bashley (Rydal) on Sunday.

But David Banks’ side continue their promotion quest with a pivotal home clash against rivals New Milton tomorrow.

Hambledon, who have slipped down the table and are suddenly looking over their shoulders, face a trip to Hook & Newnham Basics, while Burridge travel to league leaders Rowledge.

In division three, Gosport Borough’s chances of avoiding the drop are running out rapidly as they host high-flying Totton & Eling II.

Havant II entertain Portsmouth, while United Services, whose hopes of promotion suffered a major setback with defeat last weekend, bid to respond at home to Easton & Martyr Worthy.