Havant 56 – 22 Hove



Havant hit top gear as they win at Hove

Havant approached this game knowing that a win was the only acceptable out-come. There has been much promise this season but results are everything in league rugby.

Havant included Harrison Young and Jake Hewett in the match-day squad as the Club’s Academy pro-gramme continues to bear fruits and provide a ready supply of high quality talent ready for the challenge of league rugby.

The visiting side started well and clearly established real dominance in the scrum but it was Hove that took the first points from a penalty.

Havant hit back with two penalties from the boot of Skipper Joel Knight and crossed for the first try as quick ball from the forwards was moved wide and fly-half Dave Sweeney found a gap and sprinted through. Joel Knight added the conversion and his own try 10 minutes later as he stepped his way through the Hove defence.

Havant were forced to make changes when Luke Marks was yellow carded for a bit of handbags but this did not reduce Havant’s dominance in the scrum where the front row gave the Hove front three a torrid time all afternoon.

HT 3-18

Havant started the second period well with a well taken try for Open-side Ste-ve Cruddas – the experienced flanker got his hands on the ball of a well or-ganised drive from the line-out and powered over for a score. Knight added the extras to stretch the advantage.

Dave Sweeney was finding gaps in the Hove defence as they tried to rush the Havant line and form a good break by the Havant 10 Joel Knight picked a good support line to pick up his second try which he converted himself.

With Luke Marks returning to the fray to inflict more pain on the Hove front 3 it appeared the refer-ee had decided that Havant’s scrum dominance must be based on some illegal work as he pro-ceeded to negate almost all the advantage that Havant had in this area but continuously penalising the Havant pack as they drove Hove backwards.

From these penalties Hove were now taking quick taps on every occasion and were rewarded with a couple of quick scores that will frustrate the Havant coaching team because their squad needed to react more quickly.

Skipper Knight opted to steady the ship by kicking his third penal-ty and then Havant hit top gear for a final flourish.

After Ryan Ray had appeared to score and ball was adjudged to be held up, Havant had a series of scrums where they drove the Hove pack tantalising close to the try line. Havant finally scored with a well taken dart from the base by No.8 Loz Warren-West. Knight adding the conversion.

Hove to their credit never stopped playing and grabbed another try be-fore Havant replacement Jake Hewitt went over in the corner from a well worked move. Knight knocked over the conversion and it was left to Fly-half Dave Sweeneyto finish off pro-ceedings with another individual ef-fort. Knight added the final kick for Havant’s first win of the campaign.

There was much to celebrate in this game for the visiting side. Much of the promise of the earlier matches came together and there were fine performances across the team.

Havant Skipper Joel Knight was as much relieved as he was elated by the win.

“We have felt this was coming for a while. We have played well in phases against good sides but winning today was crucial. There was not too much talk before the game because every player knew what needed to be done. I am hugely proud of the boys today – the forwards put in a magnificent ef-fort.”

‘The front row destroyed their opposi-tion and set a platform for the rest of us. What was pleasing was that we changed a few of our structures in training this week and it really worked on the pitch. What we have to do now is kick on from this and we get the opportunity to do just that when we host high flying Wimbledon next week.”