A bad day at the office
by Will Knight
Lacklustre display by Havant gives local bragging rights to Gosport
Havant failed to produce the response expected after last week’s narrow loss to Chobham. In a game played on a firm pitch in front of a noisy crowd there was no lack of incident in the local south coast derby.
With very little rugby being played by either team it was the bulk of Gosport that was proving decisive in the early exchanges, Havant were struggling to contain the Gosport pack in the scrum and the home side were content to drive around the edges.
With Havant forced to make changes due first to a blood injury to Nick Goodger and then because of a yellow card to Hooker, Steve Cruddas. Gosport took full advantage against 14 players and as their pack drove forwards their scrum half found a gap for their second try.
Havant hit back with a try for debutant Jake Hewett who skillfully gathered a chip ahead and raced in to the corner.
Havant then lost Jez Smith to a shoulder injury and Jack Ward-Golden had to leave the field for treatment. As the half closed there was an ugly incident where Gosport reacted to tackle and in the ensuing scuffle there were several punches thrown. The result was a yellow card for Havant skipper Joel Knight and Gosport’s Wayne Dugan. Bizarrely the ref awarded the penalty to Gosport despite their retaliation and from the resulting kick they pushed over for a try.
Havant opened the second half by conceding another try and seemed to be struggling to find any rhythm in their play and it was Gopsport who stretched their lead next as they secured the try bonus point.
Havant responded with a couple of penalties from the boot of Joel Knight but it was not going to be their afternoon.
A late red card for a second yellow card for Gosport’s Dugan gave Havant the advantage numerically but they were not able to make this count.
Havant can look no further than themselves after this performance. There was a lack of aggression up front which allowed Gosport to get on the front foot. Havant need to be far cleverer against a heavyweight pack but were dragged into the arm wrestle that the home side would relish.
Havant skipper Joel Knight was hugely disappointed, “Congratulations to Gosport they played to their strengths and deserved the win but we let ourselves and the Havant supporters down today, we played with a lack of fire and want and in any game, but particularly a derby game like this that is not acceptable. We will reflect on what went wrong and put the work in to ensure an improvement next Saturday, we will not play that badly again this year. I am sure that training will be interesting this week!”