Story by Richard V Isaacs

There are plenty of players with Hampshire connections looking forward to the big Inter Services matches between the Army and Royal Navy this weekend, including four in the main event at Twickenham.

And it will be the Havant Rugby Club that will be taking the most notice with three of their players setting foot onto the hallowed turf of rugby’s HQ in front of a capacity 80,000 crowd.

Ex-Hooks Lane men, prop Pete Austin and second-row Ross Parkins will be joined in the red shirts in the front row by Ken Dowding, who helped Hampshire to the County Championship Shield in 2016.

Opposing them in the Navy Blue, in the back row, will be Jarrard Hayler, who played for Havant from Under 6s and the 23-year-old will be looking forward to pitting his wits against former club friends.

Leading up to this game, the Masters will be up early and kicking off at 10.30 at Kneller Hall and there is a lot of Hampshire representation, especially from the Gosport and Fareham club.

The Royal Navy Veterans side includes Andy Vance, Dane Smallbone and Mark Pollard will be skippered by number eight Chris Thompson while, coming up against them will be Southsea Nomads coach Mike Westall for the Army Masters side.

That game will be followed by the Ladies Inter Services match and the highly successful Portsmouth Valkyries provide six of the players across the two sides and there is more on the park as well.

Pompey duo of Charlie Morgan and Kerry McCormick will be lining up for the Army Women with Lou Todd of Trojans while Alice Kightley, Cheryl Goodwin, Katie Ives and Loz Salisbury will be looking to get one over on their club colleagues wearing blue and they are joined by Sarah Jenkins at fly-half, who will also be playing for Hampshire against Essex on Sunday and Rose Dixon, who learnt her rugby at Basingstoke.

We wish every single one of these players a fantastic day and, naturally, wish them well for their respective games.

(Excuse those we have missed – if there are any other players that we have missed, please do let us know!).

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