Havant grab losing bonus in tough afternoon at the Lane
In a frustrating afternoon for the crowd. Sutton complete the double over Havant to make it three defeats in a row.
Havant were looking to get back to winning ways after a couple of disappointing performances in recent fixtures but Sutton and Epsom have proved difficult opponents in recent seasons and today’s opposition were to be no different.
Sutton had aspirations of their own – chasing a bonus point win to keep them in the chase for a shot at promotion they started much the better. Havant were under pressure in the scrum and their line-out was really struggling to function.
The first score came after only a minute when the Sutton scrum half put up a box kick which looked to be covered by both the Havant fullback, Pat Gains but as he let it bounce Sutton’s centre gathered and ran through unopposed for the opening score.
With Havant starved of possession it was the Londoners that made all the running but the home defence remained solid. With the fly-half Dave Sweeney doing a lot of work clearing up around the fringes.
When it came Sutton’s second try was almost a replica of the first scrum half box kick and this time winger Jay Wilkes failed to deal with it and it was the Sutton right wing that pounced on the ball and sprinted away for an easy score.
Havant looked dangerous at times but were making too many basic errors. They were very unlucky when having won good ball and set up a maul 5m from the Sutton line. Lock Harrison Young made a great run only for the referee to run across his path. When Young grounded the ball the referee disallowed the score saying that he had impeded the visitors defence.
Half-time Havant 0 Sutton and Epsom 12
The Hooks Lane outfit made a brighter start to the second period and were threatening more with ball in hand. A quick tap from a penalty was moved quickly across the line and as they crossed the Sutton 22m line and with the line begging and no defender in his path full back, Pat Gains, was tackled off the ball resulting in a yellow card for Sutton but with what looked like a nailed on score this was scant reward for the home side who had a good claim for a penalty try.
It was Havant that did score next after a good break by flanker Jarrard Hayler was well supported by lock Niall Copeland who took the inside pass for a score under the posts. Rob Paterson adding the conversion.
The contest was now becoming more open as Sutton chased the bonus point. The referee who had puzzled both sides all afternoon with some of his decision again played a significant part in determining the result. At an attacking 5m scrum, the scrum spun around and as the Sutton 8 lost control of the ball and kicked it forward into the hands of Havant centre James Read, the referee decided that was enough to award a penalty try.
Havant kept playing and were enjoying far more territory as the game moved into the final quarter. Their second try came after a number of phases the winger, Pete Living, popped up in the ten channel and took the ball to the gain line to put replacement centre Josh Blackburn in for a score in his first game this season.
Havant secured a losing bonus point but will be disappointed with the result. Sutton deserved their win on the day but home side did not test them enough – especially in the first period.
Next week Havant play Basingstoke in what will be their 3rd meeting this season. It is a game that Havant must win if they wish to hold their position in the league.