Hooks Lane thriller as Havant see off Cornish
By Rugby Reporter
In a fabulous game for the spectators Havant secured another five point win and leapfrogged Cornish to seventh place in the league.
In a topsy turvy free running game that was a joy for the impartial spectator Havant and London Cornish served up 89 points and a game that was played end to end for 80 minutes.
It was Cornish that made the better start, opting to play with the wind at their backs, the Londoners were not going to just kick the corners. Keeping the ball alive and constantly pounding the Havant line eventually rewarded them with the opening try and conversion after only 5 minutes.
Havant had a chance to close the gap but Gareth Davies in a rare miss nudged the ball wide. The home side opened their account with a very well taken try. A line out on the 22 was worked across the field, Ben Brierley straightened, and the released the ball for Scott Morris to open his account. Garett Davies adding the extra points.
Cornish hit back almost immediately, cutting through the Havant defence and setting up ball under the posts, they then moved it quickly to their left wing for an easy run in and a converted score.
Cornish added a penalty before scoring their 3rd try from close range. A number of drives from the base of the ruck and a switch of play to the blind side opened up the space for the try and a superb touch line conversion. To rub salt in the wound Steve Cruddas was also sent to the bin for an infringement at the ruck.
Having grabbed their second try again through Scott Morris with the clock showing 40 minutes. A promising move looked to have broken down as the ball was passed behind Morris but the big winger went back, gathered and showed real power to break tackles from a standing start and sprint away to score. Again Gareth Davies was accurate off the tee.
Half-time: Havant 14 Londondon Cornish 24
The half-time team talk appeared to have done its magic as Havant came out of the blocks with much greater intent and accuracy.
An early penalty chance was kicked to the corner. A line out and then scrum set up good position and the skipper Jake Hewett took the ball from the base and showed great strength to get over in the corner. Gareth Davies adding the conversion. Showing consistency the referee sent the Cornish blindside to the bin for slowing the ball at the ruck.
Cornish messed up the restart and Havant opted for a scrum. Straight from the base the home side hit the blindside and Ben Chambers picked a great support line to cut open the defence and put Scott Morris away for a run in and his hatrick. Gareth Davies was having a great day from the kicking tee and smashed over another fine conversion.
Havant were now starting to cut loose and from line out ball on the right the forwards drove hard into the midfield before the backs fired the ball across the line for a score by James Wise on the left who showed good feet and speed to finish. Davies added the conversion and Havant extended the lead to 2 scores.
Cornish hit back with a penalty before Wise, not wanting to be outdone by Morris on the other wing, picked up his second. Again showing good strength to force his way over wide on the right.
Havant then lost Scott Bentley to the sin bin and this seemed to spark a change of approach from Cornish. They started to play everything at breakneck speed and it brought rewards. Never allowing the home side to settle they forced Havant deep into their 22 and a great piece of skill to keep the ball alive with a flick over the shoulder saw them score wide on the right and make the last 15 minutes very interesting!
Havant’s Gareth Davies knocked over a drop goal to settle the nerves but Cornish were not going to be denied. They forced the play back into the Havant 22 and after a series of drives bundled over the line. 4 minutes to play and a 4 point game.
In the closing stages Havant really showed their class. Having forced the turnover off the kick off the Havant pack played through a full 16 phases of patient and controlled rugby to run down the clock and edge ever closer to the Cornish line. As the clock went red skipper Jake Hewett capped of a fine personal performance by sniping over at the back of a drive. Davies knocked over the conversion to bring up the 50 and secure all five points.
Havant Head Coach, Will Knight:
“That was a bit a strange game. We really didn’t get going in the first half and then showe great accuracy in the 3rd quarter to pull away before they staged a great fight back. I think the crowd certainly got their money’s worth!”
“There was some great attack but equally a tough defensive display. Wayne Dugan was excellent and must have made 20 plus tackles.”
“Dan Porter showed great work rate and a willingness to carry for the hard yards and I thought our discipline at the end to close out the game was excellent.”
”Cornish are a decent side and showed great spirit in the last 15 - they just kept coming and injected real pace into the game.”