Knight’s men take play-off race to the wire

Darren Bamford at full tilt. Picture: Keith Woodland (170435-0393)
Darren Bamford at full tilt. Picture: Keith Woodland (170435-0393)
Southsea Nomads made progress. Picture: Neil Marshall

Heathens suffer disappointment... Nomads progress

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Havant reigned supreme once again at Hooks Lane to finish their London one south campaign with an unbeaten home record.

Their 39-12 success over Chobham on Saturday made it 12 straight wins following an opening-day draw against Sidcup.

Will Knight’s side will now go into the last game of the season at Sidcup in two weeks’ time with their play-off fate in their own hands.

They have a three-point advantage over third-placed Tunbridge Wells – so a win will take them into the scrap for promotion.

Knight insists the clarity of the situation is helping his team.

‘We knew we had to beat Chobham to keep our play-off hopes alive,’ said the Havant head coach.

‘It meant our players were extremely focused.

‘Having that clarity is good because there are no ifs and buts.

‘We just have to go out and do the job each time.

‘That was just what we did to beat Chobham. It was a terrific performance.

‘I felt we got back to where we were before Christmas – looking sharp and dangerous with the ball in hand. We were excellent value for the win.’

The game did not start well for the hosts, though, with a setback in the opening minute.

Experienced back-row Joe Davis was knocked out and replaced by Matt Whitehead.

To make matters worse, Chobham scored a try wide on the right to rock Havant back on their heels.

Joel Knight knocked over a penalty to give the home side their first points and soon afterwards the juggernaught started to roll.

On 15 minutes, the skipper made a superb break up the middle and put Ben Brierley in for a converted try.

Full-back Darren Bamford set up the next score with a fantastic break from inside his own twenty-two.

Bamford went almost the length of the pitch before finding Harry Carr in support for the try.

Joel Knight added the conversion and kicked a penalty to give Havant a 20-5 lead at half-time.

The second half continued in a similar vein with the home captain continuing to plague the visitors.

Brierley gathered a clever Knight chip before popping the ball back inside for his fellow centre to score.

Chobham managed a second try but Havant rounded the game off with two more of their own.

Loz Blackburn finished well for the first before Elliott Bellman dotted the ball down after a driving line-out.

‘We will go into the last game with a cup final mentality,’ said Will Knight.

‘It is just the sort of situation our players thrive in.

‘If Sidcup are going to beat us then they will have to play well.

‘Whatever happens we have had a great season.’