Havant starlets seal spot in regionals

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Matt Cox opened the scoring for Havant in their defeat at Cheltenham.  Picture: Keith Woodland

Havant fall to defeat at Cheltenham

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Havant youngsters are celebrating after claiming the Hampshire In2Hockey Championship title.

And their success has earned them a place in the south regional finals on Sunday, April 28.

The under-12s side were one of the seeded teams, with a potentially-difficult draw at the competition.

But they rose to the challenge in fine style.

Chances were created on a regular basis throughout the event but it took a while for the young talents to get into their stride.

They won their pool matches against Haslemere (3-0), Basingstoke (5-0) and Romsey (2-0) but could have been bigger winners had they converted all of their many opportunities.

Instead, Havant relied on a very strong defensive unit, with Tristram Randall in goal and backs Louis Wrenn and Matt Cottrell proving difficult to beat.

Such was their dominance, they conceded just one goal all day.

At the other end, Ossian Tate scored regularly when the Barncroft Way outfit found their feet.

And it was his penalty stoke in the semi-final which sealed a 1-0 win over Trojans to book Havant a spot in the final.

Tate’s heroics came after Hugh Jones had really come of age in the quarter-finals.

Jones scored a hat-trick in a 7-0 demolition of Southampton, as he latched on to chances set up through strong midfield performances by Finn Eastwood and George Whelan.

Up front, Ed Roberts proved a handful to the opposition defences with his ball control and strong shooting.

However, he picked up an injury late on.

But Havant were not to be denied their success.

Despite having only seven players fit for the knockout stages, they booked their spot in the final.

And there they summoned up all their strength to get the better of Haslemere with a 2-1 victory.