Havant reach halfway point in league campaign still searching for first point after spirited show against high-flying Canterbury

Havant have reached the halfway stage of their England Hockey men’s Division 1 South campaign still searching for their opening point.

Wednesday, 24th November 2021, 8:41 am
Scott Rawlings struck twice as Havant lost at home to Canterbury. Picture: Keith Woodland

xThey produced some spirited hockey against second-placed Canterbury but suffered a 3-2 home defeat - their ninth successive loss.

Havant made a confident start but the Kent side took a 12th minute lead through Tom Bean after winning their first penalty corner .

A minute later Havant won their first penalty corner which was comfortably saved by Chris Rea.

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Havant equalised on 28 minutes after Danny Rawlings won a turnover in the midfield. After driving forward he found his brother Scott who placed a reverse shot past Rea’s left foot.

A minute later Havant could have gone in front but Luke Smithard fired over the bar.

Shortly after, though, the hosts were in front after Scott Rawlings struck again after another turnover in midfield.

Matti Thomas won possession and, with numbers in the circle, the ball was played round Rea leaving Scott to slot into an empty goal.

Havant failed to create the same number of opportunities in the second half but there was very little between the sides despite the gap in league positions.

Leo Micklem produced a good save from Canterbury’s third penalty corner but was beaten on 49 minutes when Hamish Roberts scored a soft equaliser, pushing the ball over the line from close range.

Havant thought they had won their second penalty corner after Jatinder Bachu placed the ball on a defender’s shin pad in the circle. But it was adjudged an above the knee lifted ball and from the resulting 25-yard hit a quick Canterbury break moved the ball down to the Havant circle.

Craig Boyne, running on having completed a yellow card suspension, buried a reverse shot which proved to be the winner.

Oliver Hill was through on goal for Havant but a defender nicked the ball off his stick.

The hosts mounted late attacks, but made some poor decisions around the Canterbury circle. Havant were left hugely frustrated as a draw - and their first point - would have been a fairer result.

The season resumes in early February with Havant back in action against fourth-placed Sevenoaks on the first Sunday of that month.