Havant boost hopes of London one south survival

23/02/13''Havant Rugby Club take on Hove at Hooks Lane. James Read.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (13547-7)
23/02/13''Havant Rugby Club take on Hove at Hooks Lane. James Read.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (13547-7)
Dave Wheaton and the Fareham Heathens. Picture: Neil Marshall (171152-317)

Double trouble for heroic Heathens

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Havant dug deep to beat Hove 19-15 and boost their London one south survival chances at Hooks Lane

The win was Havant’s first since Christmas.

It puts them in a great position – six points clear of the relegation zone – to secure their status for next season.

‘This was a huge win,’ said Havant coach Knight.

‘Though there are three or four teams who can still go down, really it is us and Gosport at the cutting edge.

‘If we had lost then it would have given Gosport an advantage.

‘But by winning we have kept the upper hand.

‘It wasn’t easy and the players had to dig deep and show a lot of guts and determination.’

Things did not start well for Havant as they conceded a try after just 24 seconds – straight from the kick-off.

Hove spun the ball wide before racing straight through the middle and scoring under the posts.

They added the easy conversion and kicked a drop goal to lead 10-0 after as many minutes.

Knight said: ‘It was a bizarre opening and their try must have set some kind of record.

‘At that point, the game could have gone one of two ways.

‘We could have capitulated but instead showed the character to get back in it after being caught cold.’

James Doe put points on the board for Havant with two penalties but they were soon further behind.

Hove set up a driving maul from the base of a scrum and crossed for their second try and a 15-6 lead at the break.

‘We were guilty of kicking too much ball away and with Hove having a good driving offloading game we couldn’t afford to do that,’ said Knight.

‘The first score of the second half was always going to decide the issue and fortunately we got it.’

Doe kicked another two penalties before Matt Hart played a big part in setting up a position for Havant to win the game.

With 14 minutes left, the tenacious winger charged down a clearance to force a five-metre scrum.

From the set-piece, Havant moved the ball into the centre where James Read picked a sublime line though the Hove defence to score the try.

Doe’s conversion gave Havant a 19-15 lead which they held.

‘In the final 10 minutes, Hove threw everything at us and it was backs-to-the-wall stuff,’ said Knight.

‘We showed great determination in defence to hold them out.

‘We still have a lot to do and this is only a big win if we can back it up with another against Beckenham on Saturday.’