Convincing win is a big bonus for Havant

Luke Marks keeps his focus for Havant against Hove. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (150165-5)
Luke Marks keeps his focus for Havant against Hove. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (150165-5)
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Havant consolidated their top six spot in London one south with a dogged 27-15 victory over Hove at Hooks Lane.

The home side scored five tries, although it wasn’t a day for fast, fluent rugby.

Havant head coach Will Knight admitted his side were never at their best.

But he was pleased they still did enough to pull off a bonus-point win.

He said: ‘We scored five tries without really getting out of second gear.

‘Hove were dogged which was what you would expect from a team fighting for their lives at the bottom.

‘We just did enough and sometimes during a long league campaign it is important to do that.

‘The campaign is over 26 games and we recognise a team cannot always be at their best.

‘The key is managing to come away on those days with vital points.’

The home side started well and went ahead after only five minutes with a beautifully-worked try.

When the ball broke from a ruck, scrum-half Jake Reynolds put a perfect crossfield kick straight into the arms of winger Jay Wilks, who sprinted in for the try.

Havant lost full-back Pat Gains to injury but they soon increased their advantage with an excellent score.

Ed Wilks broke from inside his own half to cut through the Hove defence for another unconverted try.

Hove, helped by a yellow card for home captain Steve Cruddas, hit back with a penalty and a try of their own.

A Jared Hayler try from a five-metre scrum, however, established a 15-8 lead for the home side at the break.

Knight accepted his team made life difficult for themselves for most of the second half, before pulling away for a comfortable win.

‘We were making too many errors and allowing Hove to play the way they wanted,’ he added.

‘It was pleasing, though, that we recognised that and finally did something about it.

‘That isn’t something we would have been capable of doing in the past.’

Ed Wilks grabbed his second try of the game, 10 minutes from the end, with Reynolds adding the conversion.

It looked done and dusted at that stage.

But Hove refused to give up and responded with a converted try.

Replacement full-back Grant Morris sealed the win for Havant, though, with a try in the last minute.

Knight felt the way his team bounced back reflected the growing confidence in the ranks.

He believes they are starting to look like a side ready to challenge the top teams.

He added: ‘When the pressure came on we didn’t panic but worked out what needed to be done and did it.

‘It feels like we are setting ourselves up as a top-six side capable of climbing higher.

‘If we had started the season a little better we could easily be further up the table.

‘Now we have to make sure that we don’t let games get away from us.’