HAVANT RFC MATCH REPORT
Havant rue slow start
The first game of the season proved to be classic game of 2 halves. Chobham winning the first and Havant coming back strongly in the second.
On a beautiful afternoon with a bumper crowd packing the Mick Chalk stand the home side made the worst possible start. With almost their first possession of the game Chobham threw the ball wide to the right, their right wing breaking passed the covering defence and stepping passed the Havant fullback for a score within 3 minutes.
With Havant struggling to find any pattern Chobham looked threatening when they moved the ball wide, which they did almost every time they secured possession. However, it was Hav-ant that scored next with a penalty by Joel Knight.
The home side had little quality possession to play with but with the rare front foot ball that they did secure they looked capable of troubling to the visitors defence. Ben Brierley was a hand-ful all afternoon making good yards and drawing in the defence. Havant were guilty of squander-ing a number of try scoring opportunities and on two occasions with the try line beckoning the ball was knocked on or spilt.
With increasing confidence in their play and Havant struggling to secure any possession Chobham continued to press and their second score came off a fine move the ball pushed along the line to again out flank the Havant cov-er.
The visitors added a penalty and a third try be-fore half-time as they kicked forward and a good chase by the left wing who had just too much pace and touched down just inside the dead ball line.
chase by the left wing who had just too much pace and touched down just inside the dead ball line.
Havant made a change at half-time bring-ing Nick Benjamin onto the wing for Ryan Bateman and there was a renewed ur-gency in their play as they seemed to have Chobham on the back foot for the first time in the game. With Chobham trying to slow down possession at every breakdown eventually the referee lost patience and sent the Chobham open-side to the bin for repeated team offenc-es.
As the game moved into the last quarter Havant scored their first try of the after-noon. A driven maul by the pack from a full 15m out powered over with Nick Goodger coming up with the ball.
Steve Cruddas who had played well had to leave the field and was replaced by Mike Brook who made an immediate impact with his strong tackling. Havant also gave a league debut to Dan Mund-ham who replaced Bruce Neil in the sec-ond row.
As Havant continued to press hard Chobham were racking up the penalties as they tried to slow the ball down at the breakdown. The referee seemed reluc-tant to use his card again and when the players took matters into their own hands it resulted in Havant hooked Justin Powell being sent off along with the Chobham replacement prop.
Havant’s next score was the best of the after-noon, replacement Nick Benjamin did great work to gather a chip over the top and kept his balance to show real pace to score in the corner, with Joel Knightadding the conver-sion Havant were suddenly back in the game and in sight of at least a bonus point.
That opportunity seemed to have gone when the home side gave Chobham a soft penalty well within their kickers range and the visi-tors scored their first points of the half.
With only minutes to go Havant found them-selves deep in the visitors 22 and from a scrappy phase of play scrum half, Grant Mor-ris leap high to out jump the Chobham lock and drop over the line for a try. With Knight adding the conversion Havant were back within 3 points.
Havant didn’t have enough time to go for the win and despite a valiant second half perfor-mance will be frustrated with only getting a bonus point. In truth Havant will know they were not precise enough in the first half in too many areas. In the second half there was a big improvement but still an inability to really benefit from the better quality of pos-session they enjoyed.