'No pressure' on Petersfield in crucial title meeting with Alton - Locksheath Pumas eyeing nine on the spin

Leaders Petersfield are relishing the opportunity to take on fellow Hampshire Premier Division title-chasers Alton on their home turf (2pm).

Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 11:19 am
Updated Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 12:51 pm
Petersfield captain Matt Momber. Picture: Vernon Nash (110120-050)

Second-placed Alton prevailed in the fixture earlier this season at Penns Place, edging out Field 22-25 in what was a very tight affair.

Senior Coach Jim Pearce said: ‘This game is a derby and they always tend to be close affairs as the game earlier in the season proved.

‘We know Alton have a strong squad and like to control the tempo of the game.

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‘We will need to concentrate on what we do.

‘Despite relative league positions, we are under no pressure as our aim at the beginning of the season was to win more games than we lose.

‘This objective remains the same and we want the lads to enjoy themselves.

‘The lads will be taking nothing for granted and we will prepare in the same way as we do for every game.

‘We have already selected almost 40 different players for the 1st XV this season, which is testimony to the quality and depth of our senior squad.’

Petersfield have several players unavailable because of injury and personal reasons.

Whilst the squad has yet to be selected due to the casualty list, Field will have a strong team with a balance of youth and experience.

Alton are in a rich vein of form, with the only blip in their season being the defeat away to Bognor in December.

Petersfield captain Matt Momber has recently returned from injury and is hoping his charges can step up to the challenge.

He said: ‘We have had a run of really tough fixtures recently and we have had to defend hard in each game.

‘We know that we will have to do the same again on Saturday.’

n Locksheath Pumas are aiming to extend their eight-match unbeaten run against Hampshire League Division 1 promotion-hopefuls Fawley.

Head coach Liam Moggeridge said: ‘We have put this run together as we believe we are now fitter than most of our opponents and this helps us push them for the full 80 minutes.

‘Fawley will be a tough test but we feel that we have a good squad to go into the match.’

Veteran Tom O’Grady returns at lock with Olly Eggins earning his place with a back row start.

The only change in the three-quarters is Gus Flack replacing Toby Wilson on the wing.