Relief for Knight as Havant win ugly

Havant suffered a few scares before maintaining their unbeaten home run with a 35-24 London one south defeat of Brighton at Hooks Lane.

Monday, 19th December 2016, 8:30 am
Updated Thursday, 29th December 2016, 2:57 pm
Joel Knight lands a try. Picture: Habibur Rahman (161680-687)

The hosts led 30-5 early in the second half but the Sussex visitors hit back with three tries – reducing the gap to six points.

Three yellow cards in quick succession didn’t help the Havant cause.

But eventually they regained their composure to earn a bonus-point win.

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Will Knight was relieved to see his side come through unscathed.

‘It got a bit too close for comfort at one stage,’ said the head coach.

‘Poor discipline didn’t help. Two of our three yellow cards were unnecessary.

‘To be fair, Brighton made us work hard for the win and they didn’t look like a team struggling at the bottom.

‘It is further evidence there are no easy games in this league.

‘You need to be on your guard every time you go out there otherwise it is easy to slip up.

‘It was encouraging that when we did wobble for a little bit the players settled things down.

‘We played the rugby we needed to play in the right areas.

‘That is a mark of where we are as a team.

‘It wasn’t pretty at times but we did the job and picked up another five points.’

Havant dominated the first half, during which Joel Knight notched a hat-trick of tries.

He scooted over for his first after 12 minutes and soon afterwards got in again on the outside for his second.

A third Havant try followed when Gav Hart burst from the back of a line-out and the ball was sent out wide for winger Jerome Rudder to score.

The bonus-point try arrived when Joel Knight was fed inside by Darren Bamford to complete his hat-trick.

Brighton hit back with a score of their own but still trailed 25-5 at the halfway stage.

Another try by Joe Davis at the start of the second half strengthened the home side’s position.

Unfortunately, Havant then lost their way for a spell.

‘If anything we took our foot off the gas and suffered with the yellow cards,’ said Will Knight.

Luke Marks was the first to go for a reckless shoulder charge at a ruck.

Steve Cruddas was slightly unfortunate to be sin-binned for a tackle and Mitch Goldring soon followed for a high shot.

With Havant down to 13 men, Brighton saw their chance and seized it.

Fortunately, in the closing stages Havant steadied the ship and stretched away with their final try.

‘One of our targets at the start of the season was to try to remain unbeaten at home,’ added Will Knight.

‘So far we have managed to do that and we want to kick on from here when we restart the league games in the new year.’