Home is where the heart is as Havant get ready for big celebration

Havant are getting ready for their first home match of the season on their new pitch at Hooks Lane. Picture: Neil Marshall
Havant are getting ready for their first home match of the season on their new pitch at Hooks Lane. Picture: Neil Marshall
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Havant will host a big celebration when they open their impressive new facility at Hooks Lane with a match against Hove on Saturday.

They will play their first match on their Rugby Football Union backed state of the art artificial grass pitch (3pm kick-off).

A big crowd is expected for the London one south contest against Hove.

It is a big day for the club and senior coach Will Knight believes they now possess the premier rugby facility in the county.

He said: ‘It is a highly-impressive facility.

‘The artificial grass pitch which is designed to be rugby specific is beautiful.

‘We now possess a great playing enclosure, equipped with floodlights and with new fencing all round.

‘The length of grass, shock pads and pitch have all been tested by World Rugby.

‘To be chosen by the RFU to host the pitch as part of the Rugby 365 World Cup legacy project is a great honour.

‘They own the pitch and it is a community resource.

‘It has cost them somewhere in the region of £800,000 to set this up.

‘The aim is to facilitate rugby being played more often by more people.

‘Clubs, schools, colleges and universities will all have access to using the facilities.

‘We are lucky as host club to be able to use it for all our teams and it will make a significant difference.

‘It is a fabulous facility and quite something to look at.

‘A huge amount of work has gone on behind the scenes to make this happen.’

Knight and his team are looking forward to playing at home for the first time this season.

Because of the ground development they have been forced to play eight successive away games.

They have found it tough being on the road all the time and also had to deal with lots of injuries.

Havant have managed just one win so far this season.

But Knight expects a turnaround in their fortunes and wants to see them quickly up and running with a home success.

He added: ‘The perfect way to celebrate the opening will be with a win.

‘It will be fantastic to finally get out there running around on the new pitch.

‘There is a lot of excitement running through the teams.

‘There will be a packed grandstand and traditionally we have always been strong at home.

‘We are also entering a period when we are starting to get players coming back.

‘Our squad will be stronger from here on in.

‘We know we need more wins and have to start picking up more points.

‘Up to now there have been far too many near misses and performances have not been up to our usual standard.’

Havant Mariners are kicking off the festivities at 12.30pm followed by the main game at 3pm.