Havant targeting first league triumph

Havant's James Sutton
Havant's James Sutton
Gosport head coach Barry Bridgman

Gosport improvement needed against champions

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Havant are determined to record a first league win of the season when they entertain fellow National Three London & south-east strugglers Luton at Hooks Lane tomorrow (2.30pm).

The visitors are just one place above Havant, with one win to their name this season.

And coach Rob Matthews admits if his side are to give themselves a chance of survival, it is the sort of game they must be winning.

‘Without putting too much emphasis on it, the rest of our season to a greater or lesser extent will be shaped by this game,’ said Matthews.

‘Our win over Portsmouth in the Hampshire Cup last week was great for morale because it is tough for any player to be losing week in, week out.

‘It is all about taking small steps at a time and turning them into bigger strides.

‘There is still a lot to learn and improve upon but it was good to get a win under our belt.

‘Between now and Christmas we have a number of games we believe we are more than capable of winning.

‘The league is so tight, only two wins separate us and fourth place.

‘A couple of bonus-point wins could change everything.

‘We have been competitive in a lot of games already but small lapses in concentration have cost us.

‘Opponents have been able to score tries in quick succession to take games away from us.

‘We need to change that and increase our level of self-belief.

‘Once we can do that then we can start to turn things around.

‘Then we will begin to win some of the close games we have been having and start to pick up some momentum.’

Havant are boosted by the return of deadly finisher Jaryd Robinson on the wing.

Robinson suffered a serious chest and rib injury in the first game of the season and was ordered to rest.

His ability to make the most of scoring opportunities has been missed, though James Sutton has done well on the other wing.

‘Having the pace and aggression of Jaryd back gives us an extra threat,’ said Matthews.

The home side are also boosted by the return of Joel Knight at outside half, after a groin strain kept him out for three weeks, and the experienced figure of Liam Davenport at scrum-half.

Military duties rule out the presence of centre Darren Bamford and forward Will Williams.

Bamford has joined his ship on trials around the Isle of Wight and Williams is involved in the Lord Mayor’s Parade in London.

Havant: Dukes, Robinson, Grant, Gains, Sutton, Knight, Davenport, Marks, Austin, Elsmore, Roberts, Bellman, Goodger, Barfoot, White, Fenn, Burgess-Kelly, Blackburn Loz.