Local sides enter crucial spell

Havant's Andrew Pett (green)
Havant's Andrew Pett (green)
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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There is a mouth-watering weekend of hockey in prospect as local clubs enter a crucial period of the campaign.

Havant’s ladies first team face a make or break clash tomorrow, as they bid for promotion to the National League.

And 24 hours later, Havant and Fareham go head to head in the England Hockey League men’s conference west on Sunday (2pm), with much more than local pride up for grabs at Havant College.

The hosts are firmly entrenched in mid-table, level on points with fourth-placed University of Birmingham.

But Fareham are deep in relegation trouble, with last week’s 4-1 triumph over fellow-strugglers Stourport lifting them off the bottom and into the play-off spot.

Earlier this season the south-coast derby ended in a 4-4 draw with Andy Pett netting a double.

Havant are hoping for a large crowd, with refreshments and a car wash – in aid of the club’s new Warblington headquarters – on offer.

The ladies’ first team are one point behind south division one leaders Oxford Hawks with three games left to play.

Guildford – tomorrow’s visitors to Havant College – are three points further back.

Automatic promotion is up for grabs and David Rutherford’s side will need to dismiss Guildford, who were beaten by Reading last weekend, to keep their hopes alive.

Reading and Oxford Hawks – who meet tomorrow – make up Havant’s remaining games so the ladies’ destiny is in their own hands.

Havant’s men’s second string also face a crunch game this weekend.

The side lead Hampshire/Surrey Regional League division one on goal difference from Woking and Reigate Priory, with a trip to the latter tomorrow (2pm).

Victory is, therefore, a must for the south-coast side.

The ladies’ second team, however, can enjoy their clash with Vectis on the Isle of Wight tomorrow.

Having clinched the Hampshire League division two title last weekend, they have already booked promotion.

And Danelle McKenna’s side can now relax, with the England Hockey Second XI Trophy final against Manchester-based Didsbury to look forward to next month.