Mid-Solent League champions Harvest must play waiting game on where they will be playing in 2022/23

Mid-Solent League champions Harvest Reserves must play a waiting game regarding what league they will be a part of next season.

By Simon Carter
Tuesday, 22nd March 2022, 11:11 am
Nathan Kirby (orange), pictured playing for AFC Portchester, has helped Harvest win the Mid-Solent League title.
Nathan Kirby (orange), pictured playing for AFC Portchester, has helped Harvest win the Mid-Solent League title.

In their first season since forming last summer, Harvest clinched the MSL silverware with a 3-2 victory over Mob Albion at East Meon.

It was a winner-takes-all encounter - had Mob triumphed, they would have won the title. Had the game been drawn, Burrfields - who completed the double over Harvest - would have been crowned champions.

Harvest are now keen to be a part of next season’s Hampshire Combination Division 1 East set-up. But in order to be accepted, the club’s first team must be playing in the top flight of the Hampshire Premier League.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

That is where the waiting game comes in. Harvest have finished runners-up in the HPL Division 1 South East table, but almost certainly won’t know whether that is enough for promotion for several months.

HPL Premier clubs Paulsgrove, Fleetlands, Locks Heath, Clanfield, Hayling, Liss and Liphook currently play in the Combination Division 1 East.

On a difficult pitch in windy conditions, right-back Jack Lawton gave Harvest a stunning start against Mob when he opened the scoring inside 30 seconds.

Harry Potter levelled from a penalty - after the Mob top scorer had been fouled - with Harvest retaking the lead just before half-time through Luke Steere.

That capped a good few days for Steere, who had headed the late winner against Meon earlier in the week that clinched runners-up spot for the first team.

Potter missed great chance to level in the second half, firing over from six yards out, before Jay Loft crossed for Logan Vickers to make it 3-1.

Vickers was a mid-season arrival at Harvest, after being spotted playing for Fleur De Lys in the City of Portsmouth Sunday League.

Lawton missed a golden chance to add a fourth Harvest goal, while at the other end Joe Turner made a fine double save, including denying Barry Keogh from point blank range.

Andy Brown got Harvest nerves jangling with a 25-yarder in the last 10 minutes, but the hosts hung on.

‘It was a scrappy battle, that was the best way to describe it,’ said Harvest secretary and founder Ben Forrester.

Mob boss Alex Bone said: ‘On reflection, Harvest probably deserved it. They won the midfield battle and played the conditions better than us.’

Read More

Read More
Burrfields viewing Mid-Solent League runners-up spot as a ‘missed opportunity'

Forrester and first team boss Steve Harris were taking the side in the absence of manager Paul Chivers, who is in the Caribbean for his wedding.

The title-winning Harvest side is a ‘good mix’ of experienced heads and youth. The experience is provided by the likes of Zach McGregor, Nathan Newer, Elliott Spencer and Nathan Kirby, while Vickers, Louis Howes and Lawton are among the youngsters.

Another in the latter category is striker Bobby Read, who missed the title decider against Mob through suspension after a recent red card for the first team.

Harvest - either the first team or reserves - have now won the Mid-Solent League in four of the last five seasons. And the one season they didn’t win it, in 2020/21, they didn’t field a side.

They remain in with a chance of a trophy treble, taking on Wymering next weekend in the Billy Hill Cup before a rematch with Mob in the Father Purcell Cup.

With no first team game once more, Harris will again be on the sidelines against Wymering.