2006-07 SEASON SUMMARY

Hav had one of their best league seasons for many a year, certainly since ‘before money mattered’. A decent run in the National Trophy and a third consecutive Hampshire Cup victory made for a good buzz about the place.

Left with an unexpected legacy from the previous season, there was much uncertainty at the beginning of the campaign as to whether we could improve on our 9th place. As it happened a new rugby management team of Manager Simon Morgan, Coach Tom Drewett and Captain Stu Ingram, returning after a year with Bournemouth, aided by previous captain Jon Barfoot, managed to steady the ship and plot what turned out to be a very successful course.
 
Things looked uncertain for the first few games but, when the dust had settled, only Sid Claffey (Worthing then Portsmouth) and Paddy Conlon (Chinnor) of previous regulars sought to ply their trade elsewhere. Several new faces appeared, particularly Samoan ‘Chookie’ Cheung Fook (from New Zealand), Neil Hannibal (from South Africa), Chris Brember (from Havant Academy), Simon Cole and Sam Hardcastle, (both from Bournemouth, in the backs, and Brad Mockford and Johann Mare (both from South Africa), Karl Randle (from Swanage & Wareham) and eventually Tom Wells (From Portsmouth then Rosslyn Park) in the forwards.  

THE LEAGUE CAMPAIGN

CHAPTER 1 – OVERCOMING A DIFFICULT START
 
It wasn’t the best of starts! Old rivals Lydney, who finished 4th at the end of last season, came to the Lane and were ahead all through a close match, finishing 15-22 with Hav scraping a losing bonus point which was enough to make us 12th out of 16. There was a pleasant surprise the following week when, what was expected to be a tough test at newly relegated Rosslyn Park, turned into a 39-3 romp and moved us up to 9th.

As it happens, this was more a reflection of the strength of Rosslyn Park than that of Hav at this point, as was shown the following week at Hooks lane when newly promoted Canterbury, without a point in their first two outings, stormed Hooks Lane and gave the Hav defence what turned out to be its worst drubbing of the season, the final score being 31-47 although Hav’s forwards had done their bit in scoring 5 well worked tries. The following week’s trip to unbeaten Southend, with something of a makeshift side, had all the makings of a damage limitation exercise, but with an incredibly gutsy performance, Hav were the better side, and it was only from a penalty kick with two minutes to go that the home side scraped ahead to leave it at 13-15.
 
Although only having won one out of four, Hav had taken a bonus point from each match and were in 9th place. Lydney and Southend were unbeaten at the top, and Rosslyn Park hadn’t gained a point at the bottom. 
 

CHAPTER 2 – THE CAVALRY ARRIVES AND THOUGHTS ACTUALLY TURN TO PROMOTION!

The home faithful finally had something to smile about when Bridgwater & Albion were humbled 44-10. This in no small part was due to the arrival of ‘the cavalry’ in the form of South African wing Neil Hannibal and Samoan centre ‘Chookie’ Cheung Fook, both of whom played a big part in Hav’s later successes. A sound 30-13 win at newly promoted Clifton, followed by a thrashing of newly promoted Chinnor 55-10 at ‘the lane’ made it three on the run, but progress was halted when a visit to Cinderford yet again proved to be unfruitful, and a poor performance resulted in a score of 10-18; and for the first time, Hav didn’t manage a bonus point. Hav were ‘back on track’ in the next home league match beating Dings Crusaders 36-10 and gave an excellent away performance away at then high flying North Walsham, losing 8-11 to the last kick of the match.

This was followed by the performance of the season. Joint top, and eventually promoted, Westcombe Park were humbled 40-7, to a background of ‘thunder and lightening’, and with Hav now in 6th place, and playing ‘as well as anybody’, whispers of ‘promotion’ began. A comfortable 44-12 win at Hooks Lane against our friends from Hertford and a then our first ever away win 25-21 at the Old Patesians ski slope, where we held out from a lead of 22-0 at half time.
 
At mid-way point in the season, after 13 games we were now 5th, a place we never dropped below. Southend were beginning to shape up as promotion favourites and at the bottom Chinnor were starting to look doomed.
 
Hav continued their winning ways by overcoming Rosslyn Park 29-5 at Hooks Lane with an ‘untidy’ performance, and then having just jumped over them, had a good 22-15 win at Canterbury to avenge the early defeat at Hooks Lane.
 
Our next home game would determine whether we were really capable of a serious promotion attempt. It was against leaders Southend who were only 9 points ahead. A 20-34 defeat against a better team answered the question and from this point on, Hav were to set their sights on a top 4 finish. Southend were one of only two sides to ‘do the double’ over Hav in the season.
 

CHAPTER 3 – WHILE NOT ALWAYS FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS, HAV FINISH ON A HIGH

While not always setting the world on fire, Hav now had 5 wins on the trot that went a long way to securing that top 4 position. The first was a comfortable 36-8 against Clifton at the Lane, although the real highlight of this game was David Jones making his 200th league appearance. It was followed by a scrappy win at Chinnor, then a less than impressive 20-3 home win against Cinderford. After being 5-25 down after 55 minutes away at Dings Crusaders, Hav staged an amazing recovery to win 31-25 and their ‘high’ continued with a 61-15 thrashing of North Walsham, who by now were no longer the force they were at the beginning of the season.

A bitterly cold afternoon at Westcombe Park saw Hav’s winning run halted by a side whose run of their own was managing to take them into a play-off position. 8-30 was the result. A scrappy 19-12 away win at Hertford all but doomed the home side to London 1 rugby next season. An already doomed Old Patesians made a contribution to an entertaining last home match 58-29 victory and, although Hav were to lose their last two matches, 7-25 at Lydney for our second ‘double against’, and 17-28 at Bridgwater, they had already secured 3rd place. Tthe sides that made the trips were barely recognisable from those that had been regularly on view.
 
SUMMARY

We did enough to establish ourselves at National 3 level and hopefully give ourselves a platform for starting to think about challenging for promotion within the next couple of years.
 
‘INTERESTING’ LEAGUE STATS

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    • – 44 players were used in the league (10 more than last year). 

    • – No-one was ‘ever present. Captain Stu Ingram played in 24 out of 26, all starts. Tom Drewett, Pucs Ngapaku and Steve Cruddas played in 23, Steve including one replacement.

    • – 19 players made their league debut for the 1st XV.

    • – 18 of the players used in league games are a product of Havant Youth teams

    • – 27 different players scored tries in league games

    • – For the third year running, winger Cam Avery was leading try scorer this time with 17. Debutant winger Neil Hannibal had 10.

    • – Leading the forwards was Dylan Raubenheimer  with 9.

    • – Pucs Ngapaku was leading points scorer with 155 in the league (1 Try, 51 conversions, and 16 penalties.)

    • – ‘Hav’ were the fourth highest points scorers in the league with 736, with an average of 28 per game

    • – Hav’ were the second best ‘defensive’ team, with 433 and an average of 17 points against per game

    • – Had the third best ‘points difference’, with 303. 

    • – ‘Chookie’ Cheung Fook was named Player of the Year by the Former Players’ Association, winning the Gordon Sparshatt Cup

    • – Hav’s biggest wins were: home, 61-15 against North Walsham and away, 39-3 against Rosslyn Park

    • – Hav’s biggest league defeats were: home, 31-47 against Canterbury and away, 8-30 against Westcombe Park

 

DOUBLE CENTURION

Against Clifton in February, club legend David Jones made his 200th league appearance for the club a record that started in March of 1991!

 

NEW CENTURIONS
 
During the early part of the season the following players passed their 100 league games for Hav:

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      • -Jon Barfoot
      • -Steve Cruddas
      • -Anton Petzer
      • -Liam Davenport

THE EDF ENERGY NATIONAL TROPHY
 
A new competition called the National Trophy was introduced this season. It was placed between the Senior Cup (for Premiership Clubs) and the Intermediate Cup and is basically for National Clubs outside the premiership together with 44 clubs nominated by the English Divisions. Click Here for more details. All RFU Cup competitions are being sponsored by EDF Energy.
 
In round 1 of the competition, Hav were drawn at home to Diss from Norfolk who play three leagues below Hav in the league system, in London 3 NE. Hav had a comfortable ride into the second round scoring ten tries without reply and winning 62-9. However the visitors from Norfolk, were no ‘walk-over’ and, particularly in the forwards, managed to hold their own for long periods.
 
In round 2, Hav had another home draw, this time to South West 2 West side Torquay Athletic. Hav won 43-20, but  progression into the next round of the competition wasn’t as easy as the score-line suggests. Torquay, from two leagues below in the league hierarchy, matched us for long periods, particularly in the second half.
 
In round 3, Hav had yet another home draw, and this time against much stiffer opposition, Henley Hawks. Hav can take a lot of credit from giving a side pushing for promotion in National 2 a good ‘run for their money’; they scored three tries and were ahead for three quarters of the game. The final score was 20-26.
 
 
THE HAMPSHIRE GALE’S CUP CAMPAIGN
 
‘Fings still aint what they used to be’ in the Hampshire Cup. Since the advent of the competitive leagues, the competition has very much taken a back seat. However, after a nine year break, Hav managed to take the trophy in 2004-05 away at Basingstoke, followed up by another win there in 2005-06, and won it again this year to consolidate a their position as ‘kings of Hampshire’.
 
A record 149-0 win at home against Gosport & Fareham in the quarter final was followed by a 27-10 away win under the lights at Basingstoke in the semi, and a 50-13 win at home against Andover in the final. The only other teams that had played in the competition were Tottonians and Winchester.
 
For the 2007-08 season, the rest of the clubs will play off in knock-out format to see who will play Hav in the final!

Results/Next Fixtures