Another cracker at the Lane as Havant entertained CS Stags in the latest round of the Regional 1 South Central. There to be shot at being top of the pile, the Stags certainly gave it a go. Another packed Lane with many former players watching from the stand and the sidelines after another superb lunch, plus the usual faithful. " Havant" Tony could be heard bellowing from his usual position at the back of the Mick Chalk stand. It certainly keeps me focused for the match reports!
Will Knight again shuffled the side with some injuries and un-availabilities, one day he'll have a full squad to choose from. Ben Chambers returned to the fold on the bench and Jarod Leat started in the front row.
The weather was certainly a factor, although the pitch does not cut up as it's an all-weather one, the ball in hand was very slippery especially after one downpour lasting a good 5 minutes which had everyone around the sidelines scrambling for cover.
Havant were on top in the opening exchanges but struggled to find a way through a spirited defence, Ben Holt though found a way through like he always does, and Havant found themselves in front only to be pegged back by a well worked Stags try.
The Stags were certainly disrupting the Havant lineout and driving maul, but Cam Smith found a gap to score Havant's 2nd (pictured above). The lead was extended to 15-5 when Jacob Knight converted a penalty after another infringement.
Right on half-time the Stags scored a penalty after ruffling the Havant defence inside the 22.
Half-time Havant 15 CS Stags 8
The second period was only minutes old when the Stags found themselves on level terms after an interception try on the halfway line. There was a nervous tension around the ground as the Stags continued to frustrate Havant's attack, whilst producing some dangerous moments themselves.
Step up Sean Shepherd who single handedly smashed his way through for try number three and his 7th of the season, with several Stags holding on!
More pressure from Havant inside the Stags 22. Penalties, lineouts, rolling mauls all stopped illegally and a Stag was finally yellowed. Jarod Leat found a way through for the bonus point try and Havant had some breathing space.
When Ben Holt scored his 2nd, Havant had a twenty-one-point lead with ten minutes to go.
There was time for another yellow card this time Harrison Young was adjudged to have tackled high.
More pressure from Havant at the death searching for the icing on the cake but time ran out.
Full-time Havant 36 CS Stags 15
Head coach Will Knight's thoughts after the game
"Well done to CS Rugby I though they were a good side who will trouble a lot of teams in this league. They stayed in the bar and sang songs so definitely get my vote vote! I think today was a really professional performance by us. We didn’t panic when they pulled level and the squad calmly discussed what they had to do to put it right and went out and delivered. With a great display from the Dolphins earlier it was an enjoyable afternoon.”