Captain Luke’s dramatic winner Steere-s Harvest to runners-up spot – now they must play Hampshire Premier League promotion waiting game

Captain Luke Steere headed a dramatic late winner to secure Harvest the league position they hope will result in promotion to the top tier of the Hampshire Premier League.

By Simon Carter
Thursday, 17th March 2022, 11:25 am
Luke Steere, centre, netted Harvest's late winner against Meon Milton that secured runners-up spot in Division 1 South East of the Hampshire Premier League.
Picture: Chris Moorhouse
Luke Steere, centre, netted Harvest's late winner against Meon Milton that secured runners-up spot in Division 1 South East of the Hampshire Premier League. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Steere’s moment of glory gave Harvest a 2-1 victory over former Mid-Solent League rivals Meon Milton at Front Lawn in their final HPL Division 1 South East fixture.

Michael Granger had put Harvest ahead early on with Meon levelling just before half-time.

Harvest were indebted to a string of saves from keeper Jordan Camburn - who has only recently returned after a few years playing outfield - prior to Steere’s injury time decider.

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That clinched runners-up spot behind champions QK Southampton, with boss Steve Harris now left to play a waiting game to see if that results in elevation to the Senior Division.

There are plans to expand the current 16-team top flight to 18, but there are numerous imponderables to consider.

No-one knows how many of the three clubs who have applied for promotion to the Wessex League - Denmead, Fleetlands and Stockbridge - will be accepted.

Similarly, no-one yet knows if both the teams relegated from Division 1 of the Wessex would go into the HPL.

Additionally, Infinity are coming back into the HPL fold after agreeing a deal to play home games at Sidlesham, a ground outside Hampshire in west Sussex.

Harris expects QK Southampton and Andover New Street Swifts - champions of the Division 1 North section - to be promoted. After that, it’s in the lap of the Gods (or, more accurately, the Hampshire FA).

‘We’ve put ourselves in the best position we can,’ said Harris.

‘We’ve scored more goals than anyone else and we’ve got the second best defensive record. We’ve got good stats.

‘We’ve finished second in a 10-team league while the other league (Division 1 North) only has seven clubs.

‘If we can do well in the Challenge Cup, that will also help us put our heads above the water - outside of the (two divisional) winners, it would show we’re the best of the rest.’

Harvest have belted 85 goals in their 18 league games, 59 of which have come on the 3G at Front Lawn.

Harris said: ‘I know it’s a moan, but it would be great to go up in order to play on better pitches. Some of the pitches we’ve played on have been woeful.

‘On the 3G we can play the football we like to play, and that’s why we’ve steamrollered some teams.’

Harvest take a 6-1 lead into the second leg of their end-of-season Challenge Cup first round tie against Division 1 North outfit Twentyten this weekend.

Left-back Kyle Davies will miss the rest of the season after suffering a broken elbow against Meon.

Harris said he will have just a 12-man squad, as he doesn’t want to take players away from the reserves - Harvest’s second team host Mob Albion in a Mid-Solent League title decider at East Meon.

Whoever wins will be crowned Division 1 champions while a draw would see Burrfields claim the silverware.