Matthews eager to play pace card

Havant's Darren Bamford. Picture: Mick Young
Havant's Darren Bamford. Picture: Mick Young
Tom Whitehouse. Picture: Neil Marshall (171730-81)

Pearce fires warning to triumphant Portsmouth

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Havant travel to Staines for their rearranged National three London & south east encounter.

And they will be determined to record victory in their bid to survive.

The Hooks Lane outfit, who were frozen off last weekend, have dragged themselves off the bottom of the league in recent weeks.

Another good result at Staines will boost that momentum further.

‘We are going into the game in a positive frame of mind after becoming more consistent,’ said team manager Rob Matthews.

‘Staines recently beat Dorking, though, so we are under no illusions as to how difficult it is going to be.

‘The extra week has, however, given a few of our players the chance to shake off knocks and we are nearly at full strength.

‘We did well in the second half against them earlier in the season and will look once again to exploit our pace on the flanks.’

Havant are without centre Darren Bamford, who has joined the Royal Navy squad in their preparations for the Combined Services Tournament.

But Dan Roberts has shaken off a rib injury.

Hooker Pete Austin returns after being called up to the London Irish squad last weekend.

Havant: Dukes, Robinson, Blackburn, Gains, Read, Knight, Morris, Marks, Austin, Cutting, Parkins, Roberts, Horn, Burgess-Kelly, Barfoot, Elsmore, Osborne, Stapleton

n The semi-finals of the Gales HSB Hampshire Cup – scheduled for this weekend – have been postponed until Saturday, March 17.

Rearranged league fixtures – from last weekend’s big freeze – have been given priority.

Meanwhile, the Hampshire RFU have decided to keep February 25 clear in case of further bad weather.

Hampshire RFU competitions chairman John Collins said: ‘We decided not to use February 25 at the request of the Hampshire Referees Society.

‘They are fully stretched already and it also allows us that additional week with the forecast remaining indifferent in the next few weeks.’

In next month’s semi-finals, Basingstoke will face Tottonians, and Gosport & Fareham are set to take on near neighbours Havant.