Havant 17 – 8 Brighton

Havant showed resolution to start New Year in style

by Rugby  Reporter

In a gripping game in difficult conditions Havant’s fantastic travelling supporters were able to celebrate a vital win.

Havant showed resolution to start New Year in style

The Hooks Lane outfit made the short trip along the coast to Brighton Blues knowing that the Sussex side will always be a tough challenge. Coached by former Havant favourite Neil McGovern – the Blues are always well drilled and play with a real sense of purpose.

This was evident from the first minute as Brighton immediately went on the offensive using their big forwards to carry around the fringes and test the Havant defence.

Brighton were happy to stick to this pattern and in the conditions it worked well for them as they grabbed an early try within the first 5 minutes.

Havant looked the more dangerous side with  the ball in their hands but in the conditions were struggling to hold onto possession  long enough to really make this count.

In the battle up front the visitors were demonstrating real dominance in the scrum where the Brighton eight were struggling to live with them.

It was no surprise that when Havant finally got on the scoreboard it came through a push over try for number 8 Jarrard Hayler. Joel Knight added the conversion and Havant went into the break leading by 2 points.

At the start of  the second period Havant were struggling to get out of their own half as Brighton continued to send big runners up close t the break down but the Havant defence was magnificent smashing back wave after wave and forcing the Sussex side into mistakes.

Jarrard Hayler was sent to the sin bin for repeated team offences and Brighton grabbed a penalty to briefly take the lead before Havant Skipper Joel Knight replied will a penalty for the visitors which restored their lead.

With the light fading Havant fullback Ed Wilkes sent a huge kick deep into the Brighton 22 and forced line out on the home 5m line. As Brighton struggled to clear the ball spilled loose and Steve Cruddas dived through to score. With only time left for the conversion Knight smashed it over form the touchline to deny Brighton a losing bonus point.

This was a good win for Havant against good opposition and moves them above their opponents in the league. Havant Captain Joel Knight was full of praise for his pack.

“I thought the scrum today was magnificent, we had them on the rack and didn’t really get the rewards for the dominance we had. The defence across the team was amazing and is becoming a real strength for us, but the fringe defence was awesome. They kept hammering at the door only for our boys to smash them back time after time – some of those defensive sets really defined the game.”

“Key for us now is to maintain this form into the next few games where we have some really tough encounters to look forward to.”