Havant have ‘nothing to lose’ at promotion-chasers

Havant's Grant Morris is unavailable this weekend. Picture: Liam McAvoy
Havant's Grant Morris is unavailable this weekend. Picture: Liam McAvoy
Luke Simmons slides in for the opening try. Picture: Neil Marshall (171730-1)

Portsmouth closing in on Twickenham dream

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Havant are bracing themselves for a daunting visit to second-placed Ampthill in National Three London & South East.

Will Knight’s side have shown a massive improvement since Christmas but know this will be tough.

‘We have nothing to lose and will go up there looking to build on recent success,’ said Knight.

‘All we can hope is to push Ampthill as far as we can and maybe get something from it.’

The visitors are without the unavailable Grant Morris but welcome Darren Bamford back in the centre from his Royal Navy rugby duties.

Havant: Read, Dukes, Bamford, Gains, Robinson, Knight, Stapleton, Barfoot, Horn, Burgess-Kelly, Parkin, Roberts, Marks, Austin, Elsmore, Osborne, Neal, Blackburn.

n London Two South West leaders Gosport & Fareham make three changes to the starting line-up as they host Effingham & Leatherhead at Gosport Park.

Ash Burton returns at prop after a back injury that kept him out of the past four games.

Veteran 50-year-old prop Dai Whitehead is competing for the front-row replacement’s spot with Nathan Titchener, who could get his senior chance after good performances in the second team.

Ben Madigan moves from the subs’ bench to replace skipper Tim Snowden who is on the bench, with flanker Chris Thompson leading the side. There’s a debut on the wing for Sammy Speight, a 26-year-old Thorney Island-based solider who is in for Alex Heron.

‘When we beat Effingham earlier in the season, they had probably reached a bit of a trough in their season,’ said coach Mark Wells.

‘They have picked up since then with three wins in their past six games, including a narrow loss (21-19) at Guildford in early January.

‘I think they’ve got their act together now and will be a well-drilled side who will make it difficult for us especially as we have not been playing well at home.

‘We certainly must not underestimate them because I’m sure they will make it hard for us.

‘Not playing for three weeks has been hard because we haven’t really been able to train properly, either. But it’s the same for all the teams in the league and we all just have to cope with it.’

Gosport & Fareham: Vance, Speight, Dugan Wayne, Foster, Thorne, Duncombe, Dugan Wes, Burton, Clark, Pickett, Smith, Pollard, Thompson, Madigan, Flower, Titchener, Whitehead, Snowden, Jones G.

n In London One South, relegation-battling Portsmouth are in the Channel Islands to take on powerful Guernsey.

Southsea Nomads are closer to home in Hampshire One, entertaining New Milton & District at Furze Lane.

Hampshire Two outfit Fareham Heathens make the short trip along the M27 to face Southampton.