Havant Power too hot for Park
By Rugby Reporter
A bonus point performance built on a great defensive shift in front of a huge crowd at Hooks Lane
In the beautiful sunshine and in front of a big crowd containing many former Havant legends and an All Black the home side were looking to avenge their defeat earlier in the season by Westcombe Park and get back to winning ways after a disappointing outing at Sevenoaks last week.
The game started at a frenetic pace with both sides moving the ball at every opportunity, Havant sendinng runners in close the breakdown and enjoying some success in getting across the gain line. Park looking to go quickly at every opportunity and move the ball wide.
The Hooks Lane side certainly looked up for their defensive shift with some shuddering tackles flying in. This seemed to rattle the Park runners and it was clear in the opening 20 that Havant were edging the physical battle.
That edge carried on into the scrum where Havant had the upper hand all afternoon and gave the home side a good platform to launch thier attacks.
The opening score was from the boot of Skipper Joel Knight when Park put hands in the ruck right in front of the referee.
Havant kept the pressure on, winger James Wise made a strong break up the middle of the field and first Knight and then Liam Mellor carried hard into the guts of the Park defence. A sniping run by Jake Hewett took the ball almost to the try line and when he threw a pass over his shoulder it went to ground only for Joe Davis to react quickest to gather and dive over.
Havant's next try was a cracker starting from a scrum on their own 22 the home side sent runners in tight to hold the Park defence and when they went wide a lovely switch from Knight to Scott Morris sent the winger straight through the Park line. Morris looked like he might score himself but when he was dragged down 10 metres out showed great composure to offload from the floor to Richie Janes who had tracked him all the way. Knight added the conversion.
The rest of the first period was characterised by Havant's pressure and their own errors which probably stopped 2 or 3 more tries being scored.
Half-time: Havant 15 Westcombe Park 0
Havant opened the second halfd with more pressure on the Park line but again were their own worst enemy with balls knocked on with the try line beckoning. The chances were being created but a lack of accuracy was letting them down.
Havant added to their score with another Joel Knight penalty when park were caught offside in the centres. But it was the visitors that scored next. Fly half, Matt Harrison, spotted a mismatch in midfield and sprinted through the gap for a score wide on the right. Harrison converted his own score to put Park back in the mix.
The Park try seemed to galvanise the home side and heralded another period of pressure in the Park 22. Park cleared but from the lineout Havant moved the ball, Knight broke and carried the ball up to the 5m line the forwards powered on and then Wayne Dugan took a lovely inside pass from Jake Hewett to crash over and score.
Park came back and enjoyed one of their best periods of possession and territory but with the way the Havant defence was operating it was going to take something special to break their line. Park didnt seem to have that creativity and kept getting smashed back in the tackle.
Havant forced a knock on on their own 22 and with the clock ticking were desperate to get the bonus point score, which they did and in style. Simon Morgan in at 10, threw a dummy and hit Scott Morris on a switch and the big winger ran a full 80 metres for a brilliant solo effort to put the game out of sight and secure the full five points.
Havant had got the job done and in reality had been much the better side on the day.
Havant Skipper Joel Knight reflected the mixed emotions of the squad at the end,
"We are obviously delighted to have won the game and showed great character to get the full five points. But in one sense we were quite disappointed with the performance."
"We felt we had the edge in all aspects of the game but were too inaccurate, at times, and this meant that we left quite a few scores out there."
"It is great that we are creating so may opportunities but we need to make sure that we don't let the last pass or phase undo all the gpood work."
"The support was amazing again and there was some real Havant royalty watching today which added an extra buzz for all the players."
"Next week we have Totts and we all know that will be a real battle regardless of where they sit in the table."