Fareham Heathens fired up as they target home plate success against Alton

Fareham Heathens are eyeing county glory as they host Alton in the eagerly awaited Hampshire plate final at Cams Alders on Saturday (2.30pm).

Thursday, 11th April 2019, 1:14 pm
Updated Thursday, 11th April 2019, 1:17 pm
Supreme try-scorer Jashan Solanki celebrates after crossing the whitewash in the semi-final of the Hampshire plate. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

It’s promising to be a good contest with both sides determined to lift the trophy.

Hampshire premier side Heathens won’t be expecting anything less than a real battle from the team who have been a level below them this season but have already earned promotion and the Hampshire one title.

Player coach Dave Wheaton insists his side will be wary of the threat Alton pose and will relish the challenge as they aim to lift the trophy at their home ground. 

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He said: ‘We hold this competition in high regard and this was clear to see in previous games leading to the final.

‘As a veteran of this competition and having played in three plate finals myself, I know league positions count for nothing. 

‘Alton finished champions of Hampshire one and gained promotion to the Hampshire premier for next season.

‘They are a good outfit with strong ball carriers so we cannot afford any complacency.

‘We will give them our respect.’

With a large pool of available players to choose from the home side welcome back Rikky Curtis to open-side flanker.

His comeback game from long-term injury last weekend against Gosport clearly showed he is now fully fit and worthy of a place in the squad.

The trusted front row combination of Harrison Fokinther, Charles Chipperfield and Steve Compton will be supported by Wheaton and James Whitefield in the second row.

Whitfield has really impressed in this position having now made it his own after moving from blindside flanker several months ago. 

Greame Wilson takes the blindside spot, with his incredible work-rate and he is also one of the best tacklers in the squad. 

The powerful Harry King takes the number eight shirt and will captain the team. 

Dan Lee, who has great control over the forwards, remains at scrum-half with Joe O’Loghlen at fly-half.

O'Loghlen’s command and foresight of the game has improved massively as the season has progressed and he has rightfully made the position his own. 

Doug Barrow joins Kris Owens in the centre, both talented players, and both with an understanding of each other’s game. 

Steve Devoy and Ted Mata provide the pace out wide, with top try-scorer Jashan Solanki at full-back. 

‘We need to score early to settle the nerves,’ said Wheaton.

‘A large support is expected on the sidelines and I’m hoping this will raise the lads’ performance even more.’