London calling for Havant's national hopefuls

Craig Stevens believes Havant under-16s have the potential to make history as they bid for national glory this weekend.

Friday, 1st April 2016, 12:45 pm
Updated Monday, 4th April 2016, 4:00 pm
Havant under-16s player Ollie Wright on the ball against Push

The Barncroft Way talents have travelled to London’s Olympic Park to battle for the National Championship crown.

Havant will take on Leicester, Neston South Wirral and Surbiton in the first of two pools.

After two games today and another tomorrow, the group winners will then battle it out for glory.

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And Stevens reckons his troops are capable of going all the way – with a strong Havant following cheering them on.

The coach said: ‘It’s not one of those things you’re going to get to do very often so they’re all really excited about it.

‘The parents of the kids involved are obviously coming up with us but some of the older representatives and coaches will be joining us as well.

‘We had a lot of support when we made the pool stages last year and it makes a difference to the kids when they can hear people cheering, it’s like the home Olympics for them.

‘I’m looking forward to seeing them play well, they’re ready to write history.

‘They showed great confidence and determination in the warm-up games last weekend.’

Havant beat Winchester 5-4 in the Hampshire Cup semi-final on Saturday.

Man-of-the-match Jack Stubbing scored a hat-trick, while Louis Wren was also on target as the under-16s booked a final against Bournemouth on April 10.

Havant also hosted Dutch side Push, from Breda, and won 6-0.

Stubbings hit another treble, Wrenn scored twice and Freddie Hares also netted.

Stevens was impressed with Stubbings’ efforts but stressed this season’s success has been a team effort.

He said: ‘It was a text book performance in midfield. He won tackles, created chances and scored three goals.

‘We beat Winchester with eight of our nationals squad missing, so it bodes well when we get those players back for next weekend.

‘Ethan Hoddle, who is an England player, has been key for us this year.

‘He has scored a lot of goals but I don’t like to single one player out because we’ve had a really good run this year, the boys have gelled really well.

‘It was a great performance against a very good Push side. Like every Dutch team, they were quick and skilful but we were able to match them and beat them.’