Boom! Havant hit 100 not out at Down Grange
Havant went on the rampage at arch rivals Basingstoke with a fantastic performance full of power, pace and precision.
Havant have enjoyed a fantastic rivalry with Basingstoke across many years and when they travelled to Down Grange for the game this weekend the only thing on the teams mind was to get back to winning ways.
In the end it was a record score for Havant and a demonstration of high quality clinical finishing .
Basingstoke came out of the blocks fastest and for the first five minutes the large crowd would not have been able to predict what was about to happen. The home side pressed hard on the Havant line and it took some well organised defence to keep them out.
The visitors did wake up and when they did it was in some style and great continuity that led to the first score for Jay Wilkes. Jake Reynolds who was a catalyst all day knocked over the first of his 14 conversions and Havant were off and running.
Dave Sweeney scored next off a neat wrap around with Grant Morris and the pack took control for the next score as they drove the home side back at a 5m scrum and Joe Davis broke for the first of his three tries.
Ben Brierley in his return to the right wing was skittling Basingstoke players all across the field and he finished the next try with an outrageous side step that left the Basingstoke full just sitting on the floor watching as he ran passed.
Prop Jack Ward Golden had not scored a try for some seasons and when the ball popped up for him close to the home line there was no way he was letting it go even though there was a 3 man overlap waiting for the pass. A powerful surge and roll secured Havant’s 5th Score.
Half –time Basingstoke 0 Havant 31
The visitors were in no mood to let up on the pace and playing some quite breath-taking rugby were determined to put their hosts to the sword. The first score came after only 2 minutes of the second period with George Sutton touching down.
Scrum-half Jake Reynolds who had been pulling the strings all afternoon grabbed a score of his own next and then in probably the only negative of the afternoon for the men from Hooks Lane Jack Ward-Golden was sent to the bin for a ruck offence.
Rather than put a brake on the Havant machine this seemed to accelerate the scoring with the tries coming thick and fast. Grant Morris plying his 225th league game for the club was next to cross the line.
James Read who had been causing the home defence all sorts of problems from outside centre cut through to grab his first of the afternoon and George Sutton claimed try number two.
Basingstoke never stopped playing but Havant were now playing with such pace, precision and confidence that for large parts of the game they could not get anywhere near the ball. The Hooks Lane pack was now completely dominant at both lineout and scrum and the steady stream of ball was giving the visitors plenty to work with.
With 14 minutes to go Lock Niall Copeland broke clear and ran a full 40m for a score under the posts. James Read added his second a minute later and the home side just didn’t know what to do to try and stem the flow.
Replacement Lock Ross Parkins was next to score and No 8 Joe Davis added his second almost immediately from the restart. With just minutes to play Havant were now aware that century of points was a possibility and when Jarrard Hayler added the next score there was only just time for the restart.
Again showing some great passing and support play Havant moved the ball wide and Joe Davis finished the afternoon in style as he scored his hat-trick and brought took the score over the 100 points mark.
Havant’s Head Coach was understandably delighted with the team’s performance,
“It was a difficult afternoon for Basingstoke and they are clearly having to really stretch their playing resources at the moment – but to their credit they never gave up.”
“Having said that I thought they were brilliant today – every single player stepped up and made a massive contribution. We asked them for an 80 minute performance but I don’t think we were expecting quite that.”
“When we spoke about the game in the week the concentration was all about getting back to winning ways – but the rugby they played today is a direct product of how hard the squad have been working on the training pitch.”
“There were huge performances across the whole team today – the half backs ran the show, Ben Brierley was a real handful and the back row were everywhere. For me I thought Steve Cruddas was immense – he was destroying the opposition in the scrum and must have had 20 plus carries.”