Havant aim to regain their sharpness to boost title defence
HAVANT are looking to regain their killer instinct against Andover at Havant Park in the Southern League premier division.
The reigning champions will have the return of the red ball tomorrow after a mixed start with the white ball, enjoying two wins and suffering two defeats.
There are another five matches with the white ball scheduled for August.
Havant batsman Pete Hopson feels the full verdict on whether it has been a success should be made after those.
‘Most people have been pretty positive about it and it has certainly been interesting,’ said Hopson.
‘The white ball is a lot harder and tends to swing a lot less.
‘With that being the case captains have had to be a lot more aware of how long to keep the seamers going.
‘They don’t want the batsmen to start lining them up.
‘From a batsman’s point of view it is easier to pick up the ball against the background.
‘On some of the local grounds on a dull dark day the red ball can be difficult to see.
‘They have also introduced the international power-play rules and teams have also had to adapt to that.
‘Whether it has been a success or not I think it is too early to tell.
‘We have to wait until after the games in August when the pitches are much drier and see what happens then.’
After suffering an opening day defeat against Alton, Havant bounced back with two good wins over Bashley and New Milton.
They suffered a second defeat at St Cross Symondians.
But Hopson believes the side are close to where they need to be.
‘We got on the wrong end of the result at St Cross mainly because their two top players produced the goods,’ said Hopson.
‘The cricket we played wasn’t bad but we know we can do better.
‘We need to regain the little bit of sharpness and edge we had in our game last season.’
Hopson doesn’t know a lot about Andover who were promoted into the premier division last summer.
He expects them to be competitive, though, and the home side will need to be in good form.
They will look once again to captain Ben Walker who has made a good start to the season.
‘I enjoy batting with Ben because he always puts value in his wicket,’ said Hopson.
‘He knows where the gaps are and can play all types of bowling.
‘What we need is for the other top order batsmen to score a few more runs.’
Hampshire all-rounder Brad Taylor took three wickets at St Cross.
He also grabbed six wickets for Hampshire seconds in midweek.
The home side are without spinner Chris Morgan who is unavailable.