‘We just crumbled’ – Harvest suffer shock Hampshire Premier League Challenge Cup final mauling by underdogs Hook

Harvest’s hopes of claiming silverware in their first full Hampshire Premier League season were shattered in a shock final defeat.

By Simon Carter
Monday, 16th May 2022, 9:51 am
A Harvest defender's body language says it all as Hook celebrate another goal. Picture by Ian Grainger.
A Harvest defender's body language says it all as Hook celebrate another goal. Picture by Ian Grainger.

Steve Harris’ side were hot favourites going into the HPL’s end-of-season L4 Teamwear Challenge Cup final against Hook at Winchester City FC.

They hadn’t lost since November, winning 13 and drawing three of their last 16 games and finishing runners-up in Division 1 South East. In contrast, Hook had finished fourth in Division 1 North.

But Harvest failed to capitalise on their early superiority and ended up crashing to a 4-0 loss.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Harvest (yellow) v Hook. Picture by Ian Grainger.

A goal down approaching the interval, Harvest were then reduced to 10 men for 10 minutes when defender Mychal Griffin was sinbinned.

Before he had returned to action, Harvest conceded again at the start of the second half.

Hook added a third and then a fourth, scoring the rebound after Jordan Camburn had saved a penalty.

‘It was so frustrating, unreal,’ said Harris. ‘We should have been 2-0 up in the first 20 minutes - should have, not could have.

Harvest (yellow) v Hook. Picture by Ian Grainger.

‘They (Hook) were looking leggy, they were looking tired. I was thinking ‘we’ve got this’, but then we just crumbled.

‘In football you have to score when you’re on top. They did and we didn’t.

‘Absolutely no excuses, we didn’t turn up - simple as that. They wanted it more.

‘The things that we have been doing right all season we didn’t do right. We were our own worst enemies, 100 per cent.’

Harvest (yellow) v Hook. Picture by Ian Grainger.

Harris added: ‘I’m still proud of the boys for the season we have had.

‘You’re always looking to bring players in to freshen things up, but if no-one left and no-one joined I’d be happy going into next season.’

Harvest are awaiting news from the HPL as to whether they will be promoted to the Senior Division.

The top flight is increasing from 16 to 18 clubs in 2022/23, while Fleetlands have been invited into the Wessex League.

Harvest (yellow) v Hook. Picture by Ian Grainger.

If the Senior Division’s bottom two are relegated, that leaves five spaces to fill.

The two Division 1 champions - QK Southampton and Andover New Street Swifts - are expected to come up.

It is not yet known whether Fleet Spurs - relegated from Wessex Division 1 - will apply to join the HPL for geographical reasons.

It is also not known whether Infinity - keen to return to the HPL after being forced to quit their debut Wessex term mid-season due to the lack of a home ground - will be placed in the top flight.

Whatever division Harvest are playing in next season, they will still be at Front Lawn in Leigh Park.

The club’s Mid-Solent League title-winning reserve side moved to the club’s new East Meon base midway through 2021/22, and the initial plan was for the first team to join them next term.

Harvest (yellow) v Hook. Picture by Ian Grainger.

Harris said: ‘The facilities (at East Meon) are fine, it’s the pitch - it’s not quite ready yet.

‘Having complained about some of the pitches we’ve had to play on, I don’t want to have to moan about our own surface.

‘The chairman knows the pitch isn’t up to the standard we’d need to play our own game.

‘If it was up to me, I’d play on 3G every week. It makes for a better game.’

Harvest (yellow) v Hook. Picture by Ian Grainger.
Harvest (yellow) v Hook. Picture by Ian Grainger.
Harvest (yellow) v Hook. Picture by Ian Grainger.