Response is key as determined Havant eye better decisions against Medway

Havant have Harrison Young back on Saturday. Picture: Duncan Shepherd
Havant have Harrison Young back on Saturday. Picture: Duncan Shepherd
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Havant are determined to turn up the heat as they face Medway in a London one south top-of-the-table clash at Hooks Lane on Saturday (3pm).

The third-placed home side are keen to bounce back to winning ways after suffering their first defeat of the season at Cobham, writes Kevin Ricketts.

Senior coach Will Knight admitted it was a knock to his team’s ambitions.

But he expects a big reaction from his players against fourth-placed Medway who have also won four and lost one in the league this term.

Knight said: ‘We were always going to have a knock-back at some stage and it is how we respond that is important.

‘It is important we put in a good performance against one of the top teams in our league.

‘In fact Medway is in many ways the perfect game to have because it forces us to have a real focus.

‘It is a real tester and we know we have to react.

‘We will have to make better decisions in this game on where and when to play our rugby.

‘Against Cobham we tried to play too much in the wrong areas of the pitch.

‘Sometimes it works for you and looks spectacular but other times it just puts you under pressure.’

The home side make a number of changes.

Jerome Trail moves back to his favoured position at hooker with Harrison Young making a welcome return to the second row.

Harrison, who has proved an influential player, has missed the last couple of weeks through injury.

The back-row is reshuffled with Will Brock moving to number six, while Lee Mellor replaces the injured Steve Cruddas at wing-forward.

In the three-quarters Joe Moore is out of the match because he has work commitments.

Darren Bamford is in the centre, along with Wayne Dugan while Harry Carr starts on the left-wing.

Last season’s player of the year, scrum half Jake Hewitt, is amongst the replacements following illness.

A big absentee is captain Joel Knight who still has two-games of his suspension to serve after being sent off at Beckenham.

A big crowd is expected to see what is likely to be a hard fought contest.

‘We know our game management needs to be better,’ said Knight.

‘Against a team like Medway we have to assess their strengths and weaknesses and react accordingly.

‘In our last few games we have been guilty of sticking rigidly to our patterns.’