Havant 15 – 20 Guildford

Guildford power play too much at Hooks Lane

by Rugby  Reporter

Havant grabbed a last minute bonus point as Guildford’s scrum took control.

Guildford power play too much at Hooks Lane

Havant were asked different questions this afternoon by a big physical Guildford pack that starved the home side of quality possession for large parts of the game.Guildford have only been beaten twice this season and it is easy to see why. The possess the biggest pack in the league and base their game around this strength.

Havant got a taste of what was coming in the very first scrum as they were shunted backwards and the home side struggled to gain any possession at the set piece for the rest of the half.

Guildford were enjoyed a huge amount of possession in the first quarter but struggled to make it really count as their backs struggled to fluency. Havant living off scraps looked the more dangerous side with ball in hand.

It was the home team that made the first breakthrough, the ball was moved quickly wide in the visitors 22 and found Skipper Joel Knight who chipped the ball through for Ed Wilkes who won the foot race with his opposite number to claim the touchdown.

The visitors had a man sent to the bin as the referee lost patience at the breakdown.

But it was Guildford hit back with a try of their own when what looked like a miss-cued cross kick aimed for the winger took a wicked bounce wrong footing the Havant fullback and popping up into the path of the chasing Guildford wing.

Havant lost Luke Marks to the sin bin after the loosehead was penalised for standing up in the scrum,  a testament to the pressure that Guildford were exerting in this part of the game.

Half-time Havant 5 Guildford 7

Guildford extended their lead in the 4th minute of the second period through a penalty and looked like they were well placed to push on when Havant flanker Mike Brook was yellow carded.

Guildford went to the corner with the penalty and used the extra man to good effect as they drove over for an unconverted score.

The Surrey side looked in complete control as they went over in the corner to extend the lead to 15 points.

But this is not a Havant side that goes down without a fight and with new signing Armandus Morgan finally getting a foorhold in the scrum the home side threw everything at the visitors.

With the ball being moved around from side to side the crowd were really enjoying the style of rugby that Havant were trying to play. After a series of drives Havnt finally found a gap in the Guilford ranks as James Read, playing his first game this season, slid in for a well taken try. Knight added the conversion and with 5 minutes to play Havant set their sights on salvaging at least a losing bonus.

As Havant lost skipper Knight to the bin for a dangerous tackle Guildford had the penalty reversed for chatting back to the referee. Ed Wilkes lined up the kick but as it fell short the visitors attempted to run the ball out. With Havant’s defence swarming all over them they conceded another penalty. With Knight off the field Jake Reynolds stepped up to slot over the kick and secure a losing bonus that 10 minutes into the second half had looked very unlikely.

Havant’s Joel Knight, “We have to be pleased to get a point in the end. They are a good side – very powerful in the scrum and we struggled to get to grips with them there. I did feel that if we could get a bit more possession then we had the edge behind the scrum.”

“They deserved the win because they played so well to their strengths, if we really want to compete at the top end of this league we need react more quickly when were are put under pressure like we were. We got there in the end and the last quarter was positive but they just gave us a bit too much to do.”

Havant go back on the road next week as they visit Cobham before welcoming Gosport to Hooks Lane for the last game before the Christmas Break.

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