Action stations for Havant

Havant's Richie Stenhouse
Havant's Richie Stenhouse
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Doncaster Knights Rugby Club and former Havant rugby player Ian Williams. Picture: Doncaster Knights Rugby Club/PA Wire

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Havant continue their fight for National League survival with a crucial contest against fourth-placed Ampthill at Hooks Lane (3pm).

Defeat at fellow three London & south east relegation-battlers Basingstoke last week was a huge blow and weakened their position.

And with Basingstoke host-ing fellow strugglers North Walsham, another defeat could see Havant drop into the bottom three.

With only four games remaining after tomorrow, it is a fate they are desperate to avoid.

‘We need to throw everything at it and it is time for action,’ said Havant director of rugby Adam King.

‘Our situation is critical and unlike last week we will have to take our chances when they come along.

‘If we don’t do that then we will find ourselves in deeper trouble.

‘The time for us to retreat back into our shell has long gone we have to go out there and play our rugby.

‘It has been a difficult season but I believe we have the ability to sustain a National League side. The players just have to go out and express that ability in a vital game.’

When the two sides met earlier in the season, Ampthill boasted a team full of higher-level experience including British Lion prop forward Darren Morris.

On that occasion Havant acquitted themselves well until they were blighted with a series of injuries.

In recent weeks, Ampthill have struggled to beat lower sides Basingstoke and Tring so King is optimistic his team can get the win they need.

‘I believe they are beatable,’ said King.

‘It will all be dictated by how we play and we have to go out there and cause them problems.

‘We have got some experience in the backs but they will have to be clinical in the red zone.’

King admits there are some difficult selection decisions to be made but the priority is sending out a team that can win.

There are no changes in the forwards with Chris Thompson still absent on navy duty but there is an outside chance Graeme Frith may return to the squad after a knee injury.

In the backs, important decisions will be taken whether to play James McSeveny or Joel Knight at outside half which will then influence selections in the centre and at full-back.

Experienced centre Richie Stenhouse will be partnered by Grant Morris, Steve Stapleton or Knight, while scrum-half Liam Davenport is available.

‘If we can get a decent crowd behind us, Ampthill could find Hooks Lane an intimidating place to play,’ said King.

‘It would be tragic for the area if we lost our National League status.

‘The reality is we have five games to save ourselves and we have to get the players into the right mindset to survive.’

Havant: Keyte, McSeveny, Dukes, Stenhouse, Robinson J, Morris, Knight, Stapleton, Davenport, Wheeler, Elsmore, Wells, Butterworth, Neill, Porter, Horn, Hart, Frith, Cutting, Barfoot.