HAVANT lost 28-21 in an entertaining Hampshire derby at Tottonians in London one south.
Both teams scored three tries but the hosts proved more successful with the boot.
Visiting coach Will Knight admitted the home side probably just about deserved to take the spoils.
‘Tottonians edged us at the breakdown in the second half and that allowed their excellent outside-half to control matters,’ said Knight.
‘He kept his side playing in the right areas of the pitch.
‘We scored three excellent tries through good combination between the forwards and backs.
‘Unfortunately we didn’t quite do enough of it and needed to play with more structure for longer periods of the game.
‘That allowed Tottonians to grind out the win.
‘Tottonians are a very efficient side that have played together for a while.
‘They have real pace in the backs and play to their strengths.
‘The difference at the end was they kicked their conversions and we didn’t.’
Havant made the perfect start, opening the scoring with a try from full-back Darren Bamford after just two minutes.
Forwards and backs punched upfield and when the backs were released they created the space for Bamford to cross in the left-hand corner.
A converted try saw Tottonians hit back but Joel Knight restored the Havant lead with a penalty.
The game continued to ebb and flow until the interval, both teams quickly adding tries.
Bamford went over for his second try, in reply to one from the hosts, after good work from forwards and backs created the space.
With both teams adding penalties Havant went in at the break with a narrow 16-15 lead.
Within three minutes of the restart however the Tottonians full-back scored a superb chip-and-chase try.
Havant replacement Liam Mellor was yellow carded for a tip tackle only seconds after entering the field.
Despite the setback Havant reduced the arrears to 25-21 with a thrilling try from winger Loz Blackburn.
A long kick was fielded deep in Havant territory and again the forwards and backs sped upfield to put Blackburn over in the corner.
Tottonians increased their lead with another penalty and that was the final score of the contest.
‘It was frustrating because in patches we played some outstanding rugby,’ said Knight.
‘For too many periods we allowed our opponents to dictate matters.
‘That is something we must learn to prevent.
‘The players know they will have to take their game up a level for the massive local derby against Gosport & Fareham on Saturday.’