Morris: We will survive

Havant stalwart Grant Morris
Havant stalwart Grant Morris

Portsmouth out to turn tables on Cranleighans

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Havant stalwart Grant Morris is tipping his side to get the points needed to guarantee National League status.

The Hooks Lane side put themselves firmly in the driving seat with their nail-biting 24-19 win over Staines last weekend, making themselves virtually safe at the expense of Hampshire rivals Basingstoke.

Morris has been a key performer in Havant’s injury-blighted season and was rewarded for his efforts after the game last Saturday, with the former players’ player-of-the-year award.

It was a proud moment for Morris, who came through the club’s junior ranks, starting with the under-eights.

He admits it has been a tough season for the club, who have no game tomorrow, but is convinced they will stay up.

‘The only way we can go down is if we lose both our games and Basingstoke win both theirs,’ said Morris.

‘I can’t see us not picking up any of the points we need so our fate is in our own hands.

‘Because of the injury situation we have been forced to bring a number of youngsters through and they have stepped up to the plate to punch above their weight.

‘Apart from a four-week spell when we got smashed by the top sides, we have remained very competitive.’

Thirty-year-old Morris grew up in Baffins and learned his early rugby at Havant and St Johns School in Southsea.

He then enjoyed a spell in New Zealand at the age of 19 playing for Silverdale.

Morris shared a house with two North Harbour first-team players and found the whole experience an eye opener.

‘They took me under their wings and taught me what it was like to be a Kiwi on and off the pitch,’ he said.

‘It was all about winning to them and I was also able to build up the physical side of my game.

‘The whole thing was a fabulous experience.’

On returning to home shores, Morris trained as a teacher at Winchester, gaining a BA degree in secondary education.

For the last seven years he has taught PE at City Boys in Portsmouth.

This season, the ability of Morris to ply his trade in a number of different positions has been invaluable to Havant.

He has played scrum-half and more recently in the centre, leaving director of rugby Adam King fully appreciating his contribution.

‘Grant has represented us at every age group and if you cut him he would bleed the blue and white of Havant,’ said King.

‘He is the sort of player any director of rugby would want in his side.

‘He is prepared to play anywhere and it is characters like him that clubs are built around.

‘In the changing room he is the life and soul, never short of a word or two and a larger-than-life character.

‘On the field he is a dogged, rugged, feisty character and, typically, he overcame a serious injury to play this season.

‘He cracked the spur of his spine but carried on playing, thinking he only had a bad back.’

Havant end their campaign with two away games – visiting Bishop’s Stortford next weekend and Civil Service the following week.