Pickett hails Havant’s youth drive

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Chris Pickett has praised Havant’s junior set-up after budding talents were selected to play in the England Hockey Futures Cup this weekend.

Oliver Nail and Charlie Stubbings, who have featured heavily for Havant’s first team in National League conference west this season, have led the charge to Cannock.

The promising duo have been selected for their regional outfit – Wessex Leopards – in the under-18s boys category at the prestigious national tournament.

And Havant president Pickett believes their inclusion is testament to the work done by the club in developing young players.

He said: ‘The inclusion of the pair in the Futures Cup is a reflection of the good junior set-up in place at Havant.

‘We have produced five junior internationals over the past three seasons and, as a result, the club is now beginning to attract promising young talent.

‘We put our trust in youth and there is plenty of opportunity for young players to develop through the club and make a mark in the first team.’

Nail and Stubbings have both been getting ample time on the pitch this season.

And they have been integral to the Barncroft Way outfit’s impressive recent run of form, which has seen them win three of their last four conference west matches.

The teenage pair will now look to continue their good performances in the Futures Cup.

They are part of an 18-strong Wessex Leopards squad that will compete against fellow regional sides Saxon Tigers, Pennine Pumas and Mercia Lynx.

Motivation to impress in the competition is high, with the knowledge that selected players will be invited to attend training with England under-18s.

And Pickett believes the pair have a great deal to gain.

He said: ‘It is a tremendous opportunity for the boys to show what they can do on a nationwide basis. It can only aid their development.’

Nail and Stubbings will be joined in the Futures Cup by Lauren Wake, the club’s ladies’ second-team keeper.

Wake is part of the Wessex Leopards’ under-16s squad.

The Futures Cup means there is no conference west league action this weekend.