Knight relishing ‘extra spice’ of Tottonians clash

Wayne John will return to the Havant side at scrum-half for the visit of Tottonians
Wayne John will return to the Havant side at scrum-half for the visit of Tottonians
Joel Knight. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

FULL GALLERY: Hampshire make solid start on the road to Twickenham

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Havant return to London one south action with a mouthwatering derby clash against Tottonians at Hooks Lane tomorrow (3pm).

The game is given added spice by the fact a lot of the players from both sides know each other so well.

They largely made up the Hampshire side who were successful in lifting the RFU County Championsip Shield at Twickenham last season.

Now the representative team-mates find themselves on opposite sides battling for vital league points.

Havant senior coach, Will Knight, is relishing the occasion in front of a large vociferous home crowd.

‘It is games like this that it is all about,’ said Knight.

‘All involved – coaches, players and spectators – look forward to these occasions.

‘It is great to have two teams in the county doing well at this level.

‘For us, it is another chance to test ourselves against one of the most consistent teams in our league.

‘The players know each other and how they play, which just adds a bit more spice to it.

‘Both clubs have great respect for each other, but now they are playing against each other in club colours – friendships will go out of the window for 80 minutes.

‘We are expecting a very tough battle but the players are up for it.’

Havant boast an unbeaten home record so far this season.

They have enjoyed wins over Gosport & Fareham and Maidstone, along with a draw against Sidcup.

The home side have a couple of players returning and make a number of positional changes.

Wayne John comes in at scrum-half, with Jake Reynolds switching to full-back in place of the unavailable Ed Wilks.

Loz Blackburn returns on the wing after a three-week break because of a head injury.

In the forwards, Steve Cruddas moves to hooker and Tristan Trehan re-appears at number six.

Dan Munden also gets his first opportunity of the season in the forwards after returning from his studies at Hartpury College to play.

Havant lost last time out at Sevenoaks and Knight knows his team will need to up their game in some areas.

‘We were disappointed to lose at Sevenoaks,’ added Knight.

‘It was a game in which we created an awful lot of chances but didn’t take enough of them.

‘Sevenoaks created fewer opportunities but took theirs.

‘Against Tottonians we will need to be patient, focused and accurate.

‘If we can do that then we will be hard to beat.

‘We know that our opponents are an efficient outfit who have been together for a number of years.

‘We need to start with getting our defence right and build from there.

‘If we get the hint of a chance then we will need to take it.’

Havant: Jake Reynolds, Scott Morris, Ben Brierley, Joel Knight, Loz Blackburn, Dave Sweeney, Wayne John, Luke Marks,

Steve Cruddas, Tom Blackburn, Ritchie Janes, Mitch Goldring, Tristan Trehan, Dan Munden, Gav Hart. Replacements:

Justin Powell, Jerome Trail, Jerome Rudder.