Double trouble for heroic Heathens

Dave Wheaton and the Fareham Heathens. Picture: Neil Marshall (171152-317)
Dave Wheaton and the Fareham Heathens. Picture: Neil Marshall (171152-317)
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Tom Whitehouse. Picture: Neil Marshall (171730-81)

Pearce fires warning to triumphant Portsmouth

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Fareham Heathens will have their resources stretched to the limit as they host a cup double header.

The Cams Alders outfit welcome Surrey side Chipstead in the RFU Junior Vase second round.

They also have to fulfil their Hampshire Plate quarter-final tie against Southampton.

Both games will kick off at 2pm but will prove a headache for the club’s management team.

Director of rugby Bernie Rhodes said: ‘We have every intention of honouring both fixtures. It is not an ideal situation but the lads want to play rugby.

‘We will be fielding our strongest squad against Chipstead and take our chances against Southampton.

‘Southampton have been struggling to pull together a full squad but everyone wants to play rugby.

‘We have assured them they will be playing our second side but in the spirit of the game we are more than happy to loan players if they are short.’

Heathens head coach Dave Wheaton added: ‘We are keen to progress in the Vase as this gives us the opportunity to play teams outside of Hampshire and develop our game.

‘At the same time we also have a great heritage in the Plate, having won the trophy twice in the past four years as well as being losing finalists.

‘We have strong availability, so we are confident we can challenge for progression to the next round in both competitions.

‘While playing both on the same day is not ideal, it will give some of our players cup experience – something they may not ordinarily get.’

Both games will kick off at 2pm at Cams Alders.

Southsea Nomads host Farnborough in the Plate tomorrow (2.30pm) – in the first of two successive games between the clubs.

Nomads will then face their county rivals in Hampshire two the following weekend.

Skipper Ben Horrod is expecting to field a much stronger and experienced side as Nomads look to recover from a 57-0 thrashing at the hands of Aldershot & Fleet.

Locks Heath Pumas cross the Solent to take on Sandown & Shanklin in the Plate (2.30pm).

Meanwhile, Gosport & Fareham are aiming for a league and cup double as they entertain Farnham in the RFU Intermediate Cup at Gosport Park tomorrow (2pm).

The hosts gained a narrow home win against the Surrey outfit in London two south west last month.

And Barry Bridgman is looking for a boost following the disappointing defeat at Old Tonbridgians last time out.

The Gosport & Fareham head coach said: ‘It was frustrating because the game was there for the winning.’

Portsmouth are into the regional quarter-finals of the RFU Intermediate Cup after Warlingham pulled out of their tie because of a shortage of front-row players.