Havant cling on to beat Cobham with 13 players and keep pressure on London One South leaders Westcombe Park
Havant were forced to dig deep before edging to a thrilling 27-24 bonus-point win against Cobham in their London One South clash at Hooks Lane.
The home side showed immense bravery to hang on in the last 10 minutes with two players in the sin-bin.
Senior coach Will Knight felt it was an important win in the context of his teams title challenge.
It keeps them hot on the heels of Westcombe Park, just one point behind the league leaders.
‘It was one heck of a game against an outstanding Cobham side,’ said Knight.
‘In many ways we had no right to hold on the way we did at the end.
‘We showed unbelievable resolve, intelligence and held our nerve to get away with it.
‘Our defence was fantastic in the closing stages with players flying in making tackle after tackle.
‘It was a cracking game and great entertainment for the spectators.
‘Importantly, at the end we came away with the five points.’
In a frantic opening, the visitors took the lead through an early penalty.
Havant hit back with the first try of the game scored by Harrison Young following a good carry by James Wise.
Cobham replied with a penalty before a good individual try by Dan Munden gave the home side a 14-6 lead.
A Joel Knight penalty ensured the hosts went in leading 17-11 at the break.
Despite having a player yellow carded, Cobham reduced the arrears to a point with their second try of the game.
Home full-back Ben Chambers pulled off a remarkable charge-down to prevent the conversion.
‘Ben set off from under his posts like Usain Bolt and I have not seen this happen for a long time,’ added Knight
Further home tries from Joe Moore and Scott Morris saw the home side leading 27-19 with fifteen minutes remaining.
At this point, things started to unravel for Havant.
First, they lost captain Knight to a hamstring injury.
Then, in quick succession, they had Scott Bentley and Young yellow carded for pulling down mauls.
Cobham, sensing a chance to win, brought themselves to within three points with another try.
The visitors launched wave after wave of attacks at the home line, only to be repulsed by desperate defence.
‘When you only have 13 players it is a bit like chasing shadows,’ said Knight.
‘It was a remarkable defensive effort on our part.
‘Also pleasing were the number of scoring opportunities that we created ourselves.
‘Moving forward we will need to make them count.’