‘Exceptional’ response from smarting Havant

Wayne John. Picture: Mick Young
Wayne John. Picture: Mick Young
Dave Wheaton and the Fareham Heathens. Picture: Neil Marshall (171152-317)

Double trouble for heroic Heathens

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Havant returned to top form with a powerful 37-21 London one south win over Maidstone at Hooks Lane.

After suffering their first defeat of the season last weekend, Will Knight’s side bounced back with a dominant display.

They overcome the disappointment of conceding an early score to run out deserved winners against a side who did the double over them last season.

Knight is delighted by the continued progress of his squad.

‘The reaction from the players after our first loss was most pleasing,’ said Havant’s head coach.

‘They had been disappointed by their own performance the week before.

‘In response they came out and played some exceptional rugby especially in the first half.

‘We put into practice a lot of the things we have been working on in training.

‘A lot of those things came together which is very encouraging.

‘Nothing we have seen so far this season has suggested we cannot be up there challenging at the top.

‘Maidstone are a very competitive outfit and this win might make a few people sit up.’

Maidstone drew first blood with a converted try after five minutes but the rest of the half belonged to Havant.

The hosts hit back virtually straight away when Wayne John took a quick tap penalty and fed Ben Brierley who steamrollered his way over the line.

Hooker Jerome Trail put Havant in front with the first of his two tries in the 15th minute.

The hosts maintained their momentum with another score just three minutes later.

Joel Knight and Ed Wilkes carried the ball into the Maidstone half with good breaks and Scott Morris smashed through on the right.

A Joel Knight penalty and a Richie Janes try ensured Havant went in at the break with a 25-14 lead. And Wilkes gave them a terrific start to the second half with a try virtually straight from the restart after good work from Mitch Goldring.

Trail capped the win when he supported a sniping run from John to cross for another try.

‘We are all starting to expect a lot of each other,’ said Knight.

‘The players are no longer happy with just winning.

‘They want to improve their performance every time they go out and play. Even after this win they were talking about the things that didn’t go so well.

‘That is the mark of a team who can get better and better.

‘I am convinced there is still a lot more to come from them.

‘We are starting to turn Hooks Lane into a bit of a fortress and a difficult place for opponents to come.

‘That is one of the things we knew we had to do if we want to be at the top and beating Maidstone is another big step forward for us.’