Havant hope for an upset

Havant back Grant Morris
Havant back Grant Morris
Scott Morris. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Havant chief rues missed opportunity

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Havant believe they can surprise in-form Ampthill in their National League Three London & south east encounter at Hooks Lane and pick up a first win of the campaign (3pm).

The home side will have to be at their best for the whole game, though, with the Bedfordshire outfit ending high-flying Dorking’s 100-per-cent winning record last week.

Despite propping up the league and without a win in seven games, Havant have been improving week by week and are becoming a far more competitive outfit.

This gives them the belief they are capable of pulling off a surprise result.

Director of rugby, Will Knight, admits it is another tough ask for his developing side but he remains optimistic.

‘We have made quite a bit of progress and feel that we are now going into games with a chance of getting a result,’ said Knight.

‘There is still a long way to go but we are starting to build more confidence in our play.

‘Our scrummage has been secure all season and in the past fortnight, our line-out has shown a massive improvement.

‘We have proven that even the top sides in our league will back off when you play with a degree of aggression.

‘So far this season, we have played well in patches of games and now need to put that together into an 80-minute performance.

‘Anything less than that and it could be a very difficult afternoon against a team like Ampthill.

‘In reality, they are a good, established side but some of their results have been a bit up and down.’

Ageing warhorse Grant Morris celebrated his 150th senior appearance last week with a hat-trick of tries, and he will once again provide the cutting edge in the centre.

Havant are forced to make some changes, though, with number eight Will Williams and centre Darren Bamford both ruled out by navy duties, while Nathan Bellman will not feature because of a shoulder problem.

Prop-forward Sam Cutting could return but faces a fitness test, and winger Jaryd Robinson is at least a week away from coming back into the frame.

Havant were boosted last week by the first appearance of experienced full-back Dickie Dukes and will be looking for him to build on his performance.

‘Our difficulty at the moment is maintaining consistency in selection,’ said Knight.

‘Being without Will Williams is a big loss and Darren Bamford also did very well for us when he went on last week.

‘We do have Grant Morris playing well at the moment, though, and it is really good to have him in the side on a regular basis.

‘He is proving to be a utility player in the true sense of the word. A scrum-half by trade, he has played a lot in the centre for us over the past two years.’

Havant: Dukes, L Blackburn, White, Morris, Sutton, Knight, Davenport, Elsmore, Austin, Osborne, Parkin, Roberts, Goodger, Horn, Barfoot, Burgess-Kelly, Cutting, J Blackburn.