All-weather woe for Havant

Grant Morris. Picture: warwickpics.com
Grant Morris. Picture: warwickpics.com
Dave Wheaton and the Fareham Heathens. Picture: Neil Marshall (171152-317)

Double trouble for heroic Heathens

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Havant suffered a frustrating 24-19 London one south defeat on an all-weather pitch against south coast rivals Brighton.

The visitors trailed 17-0 at half-time before coming to terms with the surface to hit back in the second half and go close to snatching a win.

‘It took us time to get used to the pitch because very few of our players had experienced it before,’ said head coach Will Knight.

‘The other major problem was the fact it was very narrow which nullified the effect of our dangerous three-quarter line.

‘It was difficult to find any space.

‘A lot of our players are feeling a bit battered and it is telling that not many of them were saying let’s get an all-weather pitch afterwards.’

Havant’s cause was not helped by two yellow cards in the opening 40 minutes, with Bruce Neil and Nick Goodger spending time in the sin bin.

Neil was sidelined in the 20th minute and from the ensuing penalty the home side opened the scoring with a converted try.

With a strong gale blowing straight across the pitch the Sussex team stretched their advantage with two further tries before the break.

It was a different story in the second half, though, as Havant began to get on top, particularly in the scrummage.

Scrum-half Grant Morris scuttled over for a close-range try which was converted by Joel Knight, who soon afterwards stepped inside the home defence for a score of his own.

Havant were right back in it at 17-12 but a mistake from the restart set them back.

Brighton delivered a hammer blow with an intercepted try as the visitors attempted to run the ball out of their own twenty-two.

But Havant hit back to gain a penalty try after a series of scrummage offences close to the Brighton line.

‘We felt we could have nicked it but Brighton did enough to hold on,’ said the head coach.

Portsmouth’s London two south west fixture backlog worsened with the postponement of their game at Old Reigatians after an early morning pitch inspection.