Bonus point win just reward for a fine outing from the Hooks Lane men.
Havant travelled to Beckenham knowing that although they have been steadily improving the need to get a win was now crucial. It was never going to be easy at a side that had won 3 out its first 4 games, but there is a growing confidence and resolve in this group of Havant players.
Havant exploded out of the changing rooms with pressure being applied across the field, the first scrum saw the much bigger Beckenham pack shunted backwards and set the tone for the rest of the game. Havant were competitive in very phase and for once it was the Hooks Lane outfit that were making the early running.
In the first phase of Beckenham pressure a great turnover by the Havant pack 5m from their own line gave the visitors the opportunity for a easy clearance but Dave Sweeney spotted a hole in the home defence and Havant swept forward, skipper Joel Knight received the ball on his own 22m line and sprinted the length of the field outpacing the cover for the first score, which he converted himself.
Ill-discipline then led to a yellow card for Luke Marks for a swinging arm and Havant found themselves in the all too familiar situation of playing with 14 players. This has been a turning point in previous weeks but today Havant tightened things up and played intelligent rugby in the opponents half minimising their chances. The only reward they received was 3 points from the original penalty.
Beckenham took another 3 points from a penalty for an infringement at the ruck but it was Havant who scored the next try. A good break by Joel Knight set up a 2 v 1 wide on the left which Ben Brierley finished powerfully. The conversion was added by Knight taking the score 6-14.
At this stage Havant were firmly in the driving seat – the pack playing with energy and enthusiasm drove continuously into the opposition 22 and playing with patience set up good ball on 5m out. Nick Benjamin then showed excellent pace to find a gap in the home defence to score a great try under the posts. Joel Knight added the conversion for a half time lead of 6-21.
The first score of the second period went to Beckenham – a charged down clearance kick was kicked through for an opportunistic score which gave the home side some hope.
Havant hit back almost immediately winning ball from the restart. Harry Welton made good ground and offloaded to prop Luke Marks who carried on the move, the ball was then driven wide to the right before sweeping back along the line for Joel Knight to beat his man on the outside for his second score which he then converted.
As the game moved into the last quarter it became more fragmented with some frantic play from both sides. Havant regained their composure and the pack again asserted their authority putting together a series of drives up to the half way line. The ball span wide and Joel Knight completed his hat-trick with a great piece of individual skill. With the defence blitzing he chipped over the top and re-gathered despite the attentions of the home full back, after a bit of juggling he race away to score under the posts, he then converted to make the final score 13-35. A bonus point win to the visitors.
Skipper Knight was clearly proud of the performance, “I thought the pack stepped up and really provided a platform to launch out attacks from. The work of all eight laid the foundations for a good win that we hope will kick start our season. This is a great group of lads who are working hard for each other and today we were able to deliver.”
“What is key is that we now build on this and back it up with a win against Sutton and Epsom next week.”