Havant & Waterlooville Pro:Direct Academy prospects' county cup silverware chase continues against Moneyfields under-18s

Havant & Waterlooville Pro:Direct Academy young guns can further outline the progress they are making by claiming some silverware this season.

By Lewis Mason
Wednesday, 23rd February 2022, 9:53 am
Havant & Waterlooville Pro:Direct Academy head coach and first-team player Joe Oastler, right, with Hawks boss Paul Doswell Picture: Habibur Rahman
Havant & Waterlooville Pro:Direct Academy head coach and first-team player Joe Oastler, right, with Hawks boss Paul Doswell Picture: Habibur Rahman

That's the view of head coach Joe Oastler, who believes his current crop of teenage prospects are heading in the right direction.

The Havant & Waterlooville under-18 contingent play host to Moneyfields' youth team at Westleigh Park for the right to reach the Hampshire Floodlit Cup final on Thursday night (8pm).

Oastler reckons his youngsters reaching the semi-final stage represents a show of how far his Tactic League Tier 1 South squad of players have come on this season.

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While with first-year players Taylor Crook, Max Connolly and Harrison Hill - all 16 – among those who have trained with Paul Doswell's squad at stages of this season, Oastler – the first-team captain alongside his academy coaching role – believes winning silverware would be a welcome reward to his young squad for months of hard work

‘They’ve done really well to get there to be fair (county cup semi-final). Before the season started, we had the first years from last year, they’ve now stepped up into the top side - we’ve got two teams - they’ve stepped up and been absolutely brilliant,’ said Oastler.

‘The players who are playing in the Tier 1 team this year were in the Tier 2 last year so they’ve made that progression.

‘The first years from last year who are now currently second years, they’ve stepped up to the plate, really. To be fair, they’ve worked their socks off, picked up some really good results along the way, they just seem to be getting better every week.

‘There’s been about seven or eight of them who have actually trained with the first-team now. Paul Doswell is really keen to bring them through, if they’re doing well in training and they deserve a chance, they get called over and train with the first-team.’

After joining forces with the National League South Hawks to become the Havant & Waterlooville Academy in recent times, both coaching and classwork is all conducted out of the club's Westleigh Park base.

While last season's squad entered into the Hampshire Floodlit Cup consisted of a mix of Havant & Waterlooville Academy and players from nearby Havant and South Downs College, Oastler revealed just Baffins Milton Rovers teenager Liam Brewer is the sole member of this year's group not part of the Hawks' stadium-based youth set-up.

Moneyfields are mid-table in the Hampshire Development League’s under-18 division, but have won their last two games – 4-0 against third-placed Stoneham (league) and 3-1 against fourth-placed Horndean White in the Hampshire Cup.

The second Floodlit Cup semi-final takes place between Camberley Town and Winchester City Red on Thursday, March 10.