Havant 31 – 31 Charlton Park

Agony as Charlton Park  grab draw at the death

by Will Knight

In an entertaining game Charlton Park forced a draw with the last play of the game.

Agony as Charlton Park  grab draw at the death

Havant welcomed Charlton Park to Hooks Lane for the first time – hoping to find that elusive first win of the season in the league.

The home side made a positive start putting huge pressure on the visitors deep in their own 22. Knight kicked to the corner form an early penalty and from the ensuing line-out drive it appeared that they had scored. However referee, Richard James, decided the ball had been held up and Havant were awarded a 5 metre scrum. Havant used this possession well and the ball went from the base along the line to left wing, Ryan Ray, who scored in the corner. Skipper Knight hit the post with the conversion in what would turn out to be a costly miss.

Charlton Park hit back with a penalty after Havant’s Harry O’Brien had gone close with a very long range effort and it the visitors that grabbed the next try as their lively scrum half, slipped a tackle at the side of the ruck and ran in for a converted score.

Park then lost their wing to the sin bin for coming in at the side of a ruck and just as he did last week, Jez Smith, coming on to replace Jack Ward-Golden made an immediate impact getting his hands on the ball at a driven lineout for Havant’s second try.

The home-side appeared to be completely in control at this stage and were driving hard into opposition territory with forwards and backs linking well. Richard Janes went incredibly close after a great run only to be adjudged too have made a double movement in trying to place the ball as he was brought down close to the try line.

From another exciting Havant attack Dan Munden found a beautiful out to in line to carve open the Charlton defence for a well taken score.

On the stroke of half-time skipper Joel Knight showed great power to drive over the line carrying a Charlton Park defender to secure the try bonus point. Knight then converted his own score for a 22-10 lead at half-time.

The Charlton Park coaching team had obviously done a good job in the interval as the visitors came out firing on all cylinders. Scrum-half, Amzaleg supported a good break by winger Haig and scored a well taken try. Within 5 minutes the visitors had scored again as weak tackling gave too much space to their replacement lock and he galloped in for an easy score.

Havant hit back with 2 penalties from Joel Knight and a drop goal that appeared to be enough to secure the win.

With only minutes on the clock Havant blindside Dan Munden was yellow-carded for an infringement at the ruck on the half-way line. Charlton Park poured forward and secured a scrum deep in Havant’s 22. The home side cleared the ball but it didnt make touch and as the visitors desperately threw everything at the Havant defence winger Haig found a way through for a score under the posts to draw the game.

Havant will know that they played some excellent rugby but it was a clear demonstration of the fine margins that decide some games. Skipper Knight will rue the missed conversions which ultimately cost the win but there will be other players that will take a long look at themselves after missed tackles gifted Charlton two of their tries.

Credit must go to the Charlton Park squad because they never gave up and by playing to the last second secured a valuable draw. But Havant will know this was again one that got away. Hove next week is now even more of a must win fixture.

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