Knight proud of Havant battlers

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

Double trouble for heroic Heathens

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Havant crashed to a 45-0 defeat at the hands of London one south leaders Wimbledon on Saturday.

The Hooks Lane outfit were forced to make 10 changes from the side that beat Hove.

And that proved costly for the visitors.

Coach Will Knight was disappointed with the result but came away proud of the effort put in by his side in difficult circumstances.

‘In the second half we actually took the game to Wimbledon and put them under pressure,’ he said.

‘We gave it everything we had and individually all the players could come away with some credit.

‘But we had too many new combinations out there and Wimbledon exploited that, particularly in our defence.

‘We had a different central midfield, half-back partnership, a new back-row and a full back that hadn’t played since early in the season.

‘On the bench we had a 41-year-old veteran, Jason Baldock, as a front row replacement.

‘It is a big ask to expect all those changes to gel, particularly against the league leaders.

‘Wimbledon are the best team we have come up against this season, so it was a baptism of fire for some.’

Havant gave maiden league starts to back-row forward Christian Roberts and hooker Tom Sutton.

Both came away from the experience with credit, leaving Knight upbeat about the future.

‘This can be seen as another part of our learning curve,’ said the head coach.

‘It is the teams who can field their strongest team for most of the season that will end up winning the title.

‘That is something we need to take forward if we want to be up there challenging in that position.

‘By giving some players opportunities like this, though, it helps prepare them for the challenge when it comes.

‘It also helped us learn a lot about some of the players and I came away not feeling the least bit despondent.

‘In the long run it will help us build and to become stronger going forward.’

Havant now have a welcome two-week break before resuming their league programme at Twickenham.