A visit to another new club, this time Hammersmith & Fulham, the venue the world renowned Hurlingham Park. A famous Polo venue and a famous Monty Python sketch. Not a place to play rugby unfortunately. The tight pitch would certainly favour the home side as would the conditions.
Will Knight had a late selection headache with a couple of dropouts and late unavailability's from the selected squad, Jarod Leat and Tom Holloway (debut) found themselves on the bench.
Havant started well and a Jacob Knight penalty in front of the posts was duly dispatched to give the away side an early lead. This was extended five minutes later when a penalty to touch and a catch and drive rumbled its way to the try line only to be stopped illegally by a Hammers player. The referee went under the posts and signaled a penalty try and the Hammers player a yellow card.
This spurred the Hammers forward and their willingness to kick and run direct caused problems all afternoon. After some sustained pressure they scored narrowing the gap to 7-10 with just under fifteen minutes played.
On twenty minutes Havant found themselves inside the 22 and after a couple of phases Sam Vince scored near the posts, Jacob Knight was again accurate with the boot Havant's lead now 7-17.
The Hammers had a period of pressure which resulted in another well worked try although the Havant defence could have been found guilty of allowing the space and dropping off tackles. The pressure mounted once again with captain Jacob Knight alleged to have tackled high, a good clean wrap around was my opinion from five meters away on the sidelines but Jacob walked as the pressure mounted. Havant's "D" was excellent with a man down, till the half-time whistle blew.
Half-time Hammersmith & Fulham 12 Havant 17
The 2nd period started with Havant under pressure but again this was relieved with some great defence at the breakdown.
Back came Havant after some great play stealing the ball, Jacob Knight went on a surging run through the middle, finding Ben Chambers on the wing, who made no mistake from twenty meters out. Jacob Knight accurate with the after's, Havant lead now 12-24.
Havant were back down to 14 players with another high tackle, this time Wes Dugan sat out the next ten minutes. This proved a turning point in the game and the Hammers hammered on the Havant door crossing the whitewash twice in five minutes levelling the score at 24-24.
Was this going to be another Chiswick or Belsize Park?
Jacob Knight thought otherwise stroking a great penalty to restore Havant's lead with ten minutes to go. As the game ebbed and flowed into the final minutes, another pressure penalty was kicked to touch, the resulting catch and drive, claimed the bonus point as Sean Shepherd and Jarod Leat drove over the line. Shepherd with his fourteenth try of the season!
The final minutes were without incident and the final whistle soon followed.
A quick mention to Tom Holloway on his debut, making some surging runs and Man of the match Sam Vince!
Also, the little matter of returning top of the table with results elsewhere going our way.
Full-time Hammersmith & Fulham 24 Havant 34
Will Knight's thoughts after the game
"Well done to Hammersmith they have good players and play with energy and enjoyment which is testament to their coaches.
We were very much below the standards we set ourselves and never really got out of 2nd gear. It was also a great reminder that there are no easy games in this league, and we have to be as good away as we are at home.
Having said that we found a way to win and at crucial times had control and intelligence to get the job done.
The reaction at the final whistle was exactly what id expect. Complimentary about the opposition and critical of what we need to improve on as a group.
We have another huge game next week at home and know we will need to be better.