Bellman back as Havant aim to call tune

Dom Bellman, centre, is back for Havant tomorrow. Picture: Sarah Standing (123038-2744)
Dom Bellman, centre, is back for Havant tomorrow. Picture: Sarah Standing (123038-2744)
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Havant will welcome the ‘abrasive’ Dom Bellman back as they attempt to turn the tables on Hove in London one south at Hooks Lane (2pm).

Bellman has been on army duties in Israel and replaces the unavailable John Barfoot for the battle against their Sussex rivals.

Hove defeated Havant earlier in the campaign.

Will Knight reckons his side were guilty of failing to turn pressure into points that day – while he admits they were sloppy in defensive areas, too.

Now he is hoping Bellman will give his side an added edge for the return clash.

‘Dom is an abrasive, physical, hard-running forward with the ball,’ said the head coach.

‘We need someone who can punch the ball up over the gain line and he gives us that.

‘Though we lost at Hove earlier in the season, it was a tight game riddled with mistakes from both teams.

‘We spent a lot of time putting them under pressure but failed to convert that into points.

‘Hove were a well-drilled outfit and ran their patterns well but we were still guilty of gifting them two, if not three, tries.

‘I’m expecting another tight encounter but see no reason why this time we can’t come out on top.’

Havant hope the Hooks Lane factor will also come into play.

The hosts have raised their game in front of their vocal fans already this season.

They have won their past three games on home turf – against Wimbledon and Basingstoke in the league and against Eastleigh in the cup.

Against south coast rivals Gosport & Fareham they took charge of the game from the first whistle with some powerful rugby.

Now Knight will be looking for his team to make a similar start against the Sussex visitors.

Apart from the reappearance of Bellman, Knight will go with a similar squad who lost at neighbours Chichester last weekend.

‘The next few games are very important and a couple of wins will put a whole different complexion on things,’ said the Hooks Lane head coach.

‘We have played all the teams once now and there are some we know we should have put away in the first half of the season.

‘In three of our games – the matches against Sidcup, Beckenham and Dover – we lost by less than a score.

‘Those fixtures could easily have ended in wins.

‘We know we are better than that but they have been useful learning points.

‘Failing to close a game out when we had the chance has been a harsh lesson at times.

‘Apart from the top three or four sides, I would take us to beat any of the others on our day.

‘It is a largely young squad and they are learning all the time. What we need is greater consistency but that will come.

‘This has always been seen as a stabilisation and rebuilding year at the club.

‘And we feel we are making progress on that front.

‘I am sure we will pick up a lot more wins between now and the end of the season.’

HAVANT: Marks, Elsmore, Osborne, Ward-Golden, Roberts, Parkin, Anchor, Barfoot L, White, Bellman, Davenport, Morris, Living, Wilkes, Knight J, Berridge, Blackburn Loz, Read, Bamford