Havant pack outmuscled by Guildford

Ed Wilkes. Picture: Allan Hutchings (14388-677)

Ed Wilkes. Picture: Allan Hutchings (14388-677)

Dan Sargent scores for Hampshire against Warwickshire. Picture: Keith Woodland (17064-492)

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Havant found themselves outmuscled up front in their 20-15 London one south defeat at the hands of Guildford at Hooks Lane.

The hosts were under pressure in the scrums from the start and struggled to secure any consistent ball.

When they finally came to terms with the problem, they launched a late fightback to secure a losing bonus point.

‘Guildford were very powerful and we struggled in the scrums,’ said head coach Will Knight.

‘It was evident when they pushed off our own ball in the very first scrum.

‘That had a knock-on effect in other areas of the game and we found ourselves living off scraps.’

Despite the problems, it was Havant who opened the scoring on 15 minutes.

From a rare bit of possession, Joel Knight chipped the ball through and winger Ed Wilkes won the chase for the touchdown.

Although they had a player yellow-carded, the visitors 
hit back when a speculative kick wrong-footed the covering James Read and bounced perfectly for an attacker.

The successful conversion saw Guildford go in 7-5 ahead at the break.

Another penalty and two tries in quick succession in the second half left Havant chasing the game.

Havant got themselves back in contention with a Read try close to the posts eight minutes before the end after the full-back picked an excellent line.

The conversion and a Jake Reynolds penalty got Havant within touching distance.

Despite hammering at the Guildford line in the final minutes Havant couldn’t find another gap.

‘We started to show greater intensity at the breakdown and moved their big forwards around more,’ said Knight.

‘When we had the ball we looked a lot more dangerous and showed tremendous spirit.

‘At one stage it looked as if the game was going away from us so we have to be pleased with the bonus point.

‘This was a good test against a good opposition.

‘It showed us what we need to do to compete for the rest of the season.

‘When we play them again later in the season we will need to have different strategies up our sleeve.’

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