Havant 22 – 15 Gosport

Hooks Lane Christmas Cracker

by Rugby  Reporter

A packed Hooks Lane enjoyed a fabulous festive encounter.

Hooks Lane Christmas Cracker

Havant got back to winning ways in a fiercely contested local derby with Gosport in the last league fixture of 2014.

Any match between Havant and Gosport is always going to be a full blooded encounter and this proved to be no different. The home side enjoyed the better of the early encounters and were playing the better rugby but Gosport defence held firm and it took 30 minutes for Havant to post their first score.

In a well worked move Fly-half Dave Sweeney swept around behind his centres, James Read ran an excellent decoy line and Joel Knight found the fly-half who blasted through the tackle of the Gosport scrum-half for an excellent opener. Knight added the conversion.

From the kick off Gosport received a 2nd Yellow card as Loosehead prop, Tom Blackburn, took out Joe Davis in the air at the kick off.

The home side made their advantage pay when a Gosport clearance kick missed touch the the backs threw the ball across the field and Fullback Ed Wilkes made a good break up the right touchline.  Wilkes was tackled just short of the try line but Ben Brierley picked up the ball and powered over for Havant’s second try.

Gosport rallied and were camped in the Havant 22 for the next 5 minutes and threw everything they had at the Havant defence. The home side looked well organised and no one was in the mood for giving any early Christmas presents but in truth Gosport never really looked like breaking through. Eventually the visitors were forced cut their losses and opted to take a penalty kick at goal.

Half time:  Havant 12 Gosport 3

Gosport started well in the second period scoring an early try to cut the deficit after a series of drives close to the Havant line.

Havant hit back with a well taken try as James Read cut a lovely line to wrong foot the visitors defence and score under the post. Knight added the conversion to make the score 19-8.

A smartly taken drop goal from man of the match Dave Sweeney extended the lead further.

Gosport to their credit never stopped playing and when Havant had lost Steve Cruddas and James Read to the sin bin for repeat offences Gosport grabbed a late consolation score and a losing bonus point in the last play.

Havant Skipper Joel Knight was pleased with the result,  ‘It was a typical local derby – I thought we produced a gritty performance and managed to stop them at source most of the afternoon. The pack were outstanding again today and I think we showed in the backs what we can do when we have a little bit of front foot ball.” “Gosport kept on coming as we knew they would and pressed us all the way but I always felt that we had enough control.”

“It was a good way to end the year and a great day for the club. The support for both teams was excellent. Now we have The Charity game next week and then we look forward to what will be an equally tough encounter away to Brighton”