Havant focused with University of Bristol next challenge in title pursuit

Havant know they have plenty of work to do in their quest to secure the National League men’s conference west title.

By Dave Brawn
Thursday, 7th March 2019, 10:05 am
Updated Thursday, 7th March 2019, 11:10 am
Charlie Stubbings, centre. Picture: Chris Moorhouse
Charlie Stubbings, centre. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

With four games remaining they have a six-point cushion at the top.

Next up they go to the University of Bristol for a key match on Sunday at 1.30pm at Coombe Dingle.

Havant enter the past four league games six points clear at the top after an excellent win against Oxford Hawks last Saturday but without getting carried away the last four games are very tough either against challengers for the title or those hoping to make automatic qualification for the new first division next season, or the seventh-place play-off position.

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The three clubs finishing seventh in the three conference divisions enter a three team round robin tournament with the top two teams qualifying for the new first division.

The team that comes bottom from the three teams stays in the conference league, which becomes a third tier competition with a number of teams who currently play in the regional premier division one being promoted.

University of Bristol and Fareham look to be playing for the seventh place play=off position and what makes it even more interesting is that they play each other on March 24, the penultimate league game of the season. University of Bristol won 1-0 against Chichester last weekend, which will give them confidence as they lead Fareham by five points at present.

Fareham host University of Birmingham on Sunday at 1.30pm.

Havant need three points against University of Bristol and Chichester and one more point from University of Birmingham and Olton & West Warwick to be champions.

But the league has been unpredictable so far.

When Havant played University of Bristol in November they ran out 3-1 winners in a game which took them 53 minutes to score.

On that day Akhtar Ali opened the scoring for Havant and Charlie Stubbings scored a brace, one from the penalty spot.

Another interesting statistic is University of Bristol’s forward Rufus McNaught-Barrington is the top scorer in the league with 18 goals. He has netted five field goals, 10 penalty corners and three penalty strokes, therefore is certainly one to watch and snuff out of the game. 

On Saturday Havant push back at 1.30pm at Havant College against Surbiton Ladies third in South Clubs’ Women’s League division two.