Stone backs Havant to cope without Hindley
Chris Stone insists Havant have the quality to maintain their winning start in the Southern League premier division against old adversaries South Wilts at Lower Bemerton.
However, the skipper, who took over the reins from Ben Walker before the start of the season, will be without one of his key players on Saturday.
Experienced all-rounder Richard Hindley is unavailable for the trip but Stone believes he has enough depth in his squad to cope.
The visitors beat Lymington in their opening game as they bid for a third successive league title.
South Wilts were the dominant force prior to Havant regaining the crown.
The two teams have had some tight tussles over the years – and Stone is expecting another close encounter.
The Havant skipper said: ‘This is a huge game for us. For the past seven years it has been South Wilts at the top challenging with us.
‘We have had some terrific battles in that time. And we have come across each other a lot in a number of different competitions.
‘We managed to beat them towards the back end of last season in a good game at Havant Park.
‘But when you play against them you know you have to be at your best.
‘They have a lot of good players in their side and they are even stronger this summer.
‘Tom Morton, who is one of the best batsmen in the league, has returned and will pose a threat.
‘It is disappointing Richard Hindley is missing because he is an important player for us with bat and ball.
‘We have players, though, who can step up and do well for us. There are plenty of good options.’
South Wilts surprisingly lost their opening game at home against Burridge.
They bounced back, however, in fine style with a win at dangerous Bashley in their second outing – sneaking home by five runs.
Havant’s bid to start the season with two successive wins was foiled by the weather last weekend – after they had reduced Alton to 147 for seven.
Andy Gorvin maintained his fantastic start to the season with a three-wicket haul – adding to his impressive opening day performance.
And the all-rounder is expected to play a crucial part again on a South Wilts wicket that usually offers a little bit for all bowlers.
‘We have a good mixture of seamers and spinners,’ added Stone.
‘If we can execute our skills properly then we will give ourselves a good chance to come out as winners.’
Havant eased into the third round of the National Club Championship last Sunday with an eight-wicket win over Chichester Priory Park.
Graham Burns took five for 19 as they bowled Priory Park out for 127.
Stone then helped himself to 52 not out as Havant chased down the target in 32 overs.