On past experience is was difficult to guess what sort of team would turn up – if at all – from Winchester, having cancelled both games last season, but mostly turning out a strong side when they do turn up.
The game was fast paced in the first half. Havant took the game to Winchester and remained in the visitors half for the first 10 minutes. Against the run of play an unlucky charge down resulted in a Winchester try. Havant returned with Owen Cole gathering a kick down field and stepped his way through several Winchester players just off the try line. A quick recycle saw Jack Ward Golden go over. Winchester retaliated with strong forward play, not really using their backs. They scored a try from a ruck just of the try line which appeared an illegal try but the referee gave it.
From this point, Havant suffered the first of several injuries which had a severe impact on the game. Fly Half Ali Hire and Winger Owen Cole both retired. Alex Tomlinson came to the 10 position from the centres. Winchester didn’t give Havant much opportunity with the ball and utilised their forwards to pick and go and use the shot pop drive off rucks continually. Havant defence was strong but this was draining on energy levels and the try line was breached again. After this Havant succumbed to more injuries with Jack Ward Golden having to retire due to an ankle injury. The Havant line-up had to change considerably with Greg Williams and Vinnie Swanton drafted into the centres for cover.
A strong Winchester side will be contenders for the league no. 1 spot but Havant Axv will no doubt redouble efforts in training and will relish the rematch
Man of the Match:
Jack Ward Golden was again defending excellently and is emerging as a real pack leader, but for his exceptional defence Greg Williams receives this week’s Man of the Match