Havant chief buoyed by great effort in defeat
Will Knight was highly encouraged despite watching Havant lose 21-14 at Sidcup in London one south.
The head coach was forced to field a vastly-changed side and the players who stepped up acquitted themselves well.
‘It was a really encouraging performance considering the amount of disruption we had,’ said Knight.
‘In some ways, even though we lost, it was one of our better performances of the season.
‘Our defensive work was fantastic and in the first half when Sidcup threw everything at us we held firm.
‘The players kept throwing themselves into the tackle and smashing them back.
‘All the players who came in stepped up and we gave Sidcup a real fright.’
The only scores in the first half came from two Sidcup penalties and Havant shot out of the blocks to score within three minutes of the restart.
A fabulous turnover by replacement Liam Mellor, playing his first senior game for four years, ended in a try for scrum-half Jake Hewitt.
Joel Knight added the conversion to give Havant a 7-6 lead.
The home side then stretched away with a try and a penalty try before Havant finished the game in style.
With a makeshift back-row in place, they outstripped the home defence for Pat Gains to score.
Joel Knight again added the extra points.
Hampshire one leaders Fareham Heathens returned from the Isle of Wight with a 43-27 bonus-point win.
Head coach Bernie Rhodes was pleased Heathens didn’t let a few late problems disrupt their preparations.
‘The ferry was delayed so we didn’t get to the ground until 40 minutes before kick-off,’ said Rhodes.
‘Then in the warm-up, wing-forward Michael West twisted his knee.’
A double from Jashan Solanki and tries by Rikki Curtis, Cary Aston and Cam Guthrie put them in control.
Steve Devoy and Andy Burns then completed the scoring after the break.
‘The run-in is very tough for us but we know exactly what we have to do to win the title,’ said Rhodes.
Struggling Petersfield suffered a 31-12 defeat at Farnborough.