Havant impress in defeat but Portsmouth suffer

Will Knight felt Havant acquitted themselves well despite losing 27-12 at London one south leaders Sutton & Epsom.

Monday, 25th January 2016, 7:30 am
Luke Simmons scores for Portsmouth. Picture: Neil Marshall

After a slow start, the Hooks Lane outfit competed well and gave the hosts a fair share of problems.

The game was cut short, though, denying Knight’s men a shot at a bonus point.

‘The game was a lot closer than the final scoreline suggests,’ said Havant’s head coach.

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Mark Ovens fails in his bid to get the ball over the try line, much to Portsmouth's disappointment. Picture: Neil Marshall

‘We had them under pressure for a long time in the second half but couldn’t quite get over the line.

‘In the end they broke away to score a try which flattered them.

‘From our point of view it was a reasonable performance in a good game of rugby.

‘The real disappointment for both teams came at the end when, after a minor scuffle, the referee ended the game four minutes early.

Mark Ovens fails in his bid to get the ball over the try line, much to Portsmouth's disappointment. Picture: Neil Marshall

‘Neither team was happy because they wanted to try to get the bonus points still on offer.’

The visitors were forced to make a late reshuffle when Loz Blackburn, who has been almost ever-present this season, was called away.

It meant Havant had to reshuffle and play regular scrum-half Jake Hewitt on the wing.

The home side started strongly, scoring two converted tries inside 12 minutes, following lapses in the visiting defence.

Despite having scrum-half Grant Morris sin-binned, Havant hit back with a Joe Davis try – which was converted by Joel Knight.

Havant pegged their opponents back to 17-12 early in the second half with a try from second-row Ross Parkin.

‘For the next 25 minutes we were camped in their half but couldn’t make it count,’ said Will Knight.

Meanwhile, Portsmouth slumped to a 37-19 London two south west loss to London Exiles at Rugby Camp.

Coach Ben Dudley said: ‘It was probably our worst performance since the start of the season.

‘It was one of those days when we just didn’t play well and made a number of uncharacteristic errors.

‘We didn’t execute our game plan and London Exiles punished us.

‘If their goal-kicker had been on form the defeat would have been heavier.

‘It is how we react to this performance that is important.’

Portsmouth scored three tries, through Damien Gibbs, Luke Simmons and Greg Hoolihan, with Simon Morgan adding two conversions.

In London south west three, United Services lost 32-13 at Farnham.