1st XV Men
Sat 04 May 2024
Havant Rugby Football Club
1st XV Men
Semi-final ends in disappointing defeat in North Devon

Semi-final ends in disappointing defeat in North Devon

Pete Mayhead5 May - 14:20
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Havant travelled down to North Devon to face Barnstaple RFC in the semi-final of the Papa Johns Trophy, at stake a place in the final at Twickenham. An early start leaving from Hooks Lane 0730!
The near four-hour journey was broken up by a stop at Tiverton.
Will Knight had to shuffle the team yet again with injuries and unavailability's which saw Jack Phillips move from the wing to scrumhalf and Chris Buckett start.
A warm welcome from our hosts was not extended onto the pitch as the red shirted Barnstaple team dismantled the Blue and white hoops in the opening exchanges. Shipping three converted tries in the opening twenty minutes is not a recipe for success! The large vociferous crowd were in their element driving their team forward.
The one-way traffic continued with Havant struggling to stem the red tide, whilst not playing their normal expansive game, they found the Barnstaple defensive line almost impossible to break.
Another try just on the stroke of halftime gave the home side a healthy lead which many in the crowd thought was unsurmountable, even with famed Havant never give up attitude.

Half-time Barnstaple 28 Havant 0

Havant stayed on the pitch at halftime, this squad is about not giving up, no quit!
But surely the game was over as a contest when Barnstaple opened the scoring in the opening exchanges of the 2nd period, a party atmosphere was beginning to build on the sidelines, whilst the faithful that travelled could only watch on in dismay.
Havant finally played some meaningful rugby and put concerted pressure on the Barnstaple defense, after some clever phases of rugby Will Owen scored Havant's first points of the afternoon, the conversion was good from Jacob Knight making the score 35-7.
But spirits were dashed moments later as Barnstaple spurred on by a yellow card, raced through again with Havant having no answer.
Havant were to score again when Armandus Morgan crashed over out wide again converted by Jacob Knight, but it was a mere consolation, well beaten by a well drilled Barnstaple side driven on by their crowd.
A try and a penalty in time added on was the icing on the cake as Havant conceded fifty points for the first time since 2018/19 season.
So, a long season came to a frustrating end, as Havant could not really show the Devon crowd why they were champions of South-Central.

Full-time Barnstaple 50 Havant 14

But what a season! Nat 2 here we come. Havant are coming up the hill

Will Knight's thoughts after the game
"Congratulations to Barnstaple they brought the fire and today we couldn’t match it. It felt like a match too far this year. I can’t fault the boys it has been an incredibly long, tough season and we had a few late changes today that will always be disruptive. We were beaten by the better team on the day, but it takes nothing away from what has been an incredible season. I could not be prouder of this squad."

postscript Swift recovery to Sean Shepherd after his nasty injury.

Match details

Match date

Sat 04 May 2024


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Team Sponsors

Main Club Sponsor - Bell Integration
shirt sponsor - R.R.S