Cool Havant beat Dover

Captain Joel Knight makes a break against Dover.   Picture: Malcolm Wells (133218-9820)
Captain Joel Knight makes a break against Dover. Picture: Malcolm Wells (133218-9820)
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Havant kept their cool to crush 13-man Dover 27-0 at Hooks Lane.

The visitors had a player sent off in each half, in what proved to be a tetchy and fractious affair.

Refusing to be provoked, the home side set about exploiting their numerical advantage but were disappointed not to score a bonus-point fourth try.

However it was an important win for Will Knight’s team, lifting them out of the London one south bottom three, above Hove on points difference.

‘We maintained our discipline under a lot of provocation,’ said Knight.

‘There was a lot of self-discipline and improved accuracy in everything we did.

‘Importantly, we kept it up throughout the 80 minutes and, unlike in some games this season, didn’t let things drift.

‘This win, however, is a real positive for the club.’

Both teams showed good attacking qualities in the opening 20 minutes.

But then things turned unsavoury as the forwards clashed.

The Dover number eight was given a straight red card.

Havant failed to press home their advantage in the first half and all they had at the break was a 6-0 lead – courtesy of two penalties kicked by captain Joel Knight.

‘We put them under a lot of pressure without putting points on the board,’ said Will Knight.

The home side came out at the start of the second half looking intent on making the most of their advantage.

Within four minutes of the restart, Havant claimed their first try.

Niall Copeland scored after good work from the forwards.

Knight added the conversion and did the same again, midway through the half, when Josh Blackburn produced some excellent finishing.

Both teams had players sent to the sin-bin but the hosts notched their third try, eight minutes from time.

Centre James Read took advantage of quick ruck ball to step inside his defender and score under the posts, with Knight converting again.

Dover were reduced to 13 men after players from both teams clashed again on the touchline.

On this occasion, Dover’s sin-binned player raced back onto the pitch to get involved, leaving the referee no option but to issue his second yellow card.

Try as they might in the closing minutes, Havant failed to pick up the bonus point but confidence will be boosted ahead of more key matches.

‘This is a big win for us but ideally we need two or three more before Christmas to climb further up the league,’ said Will Knight.

‘The evidence was there that we are capable of getting them.

‘Our forwards were terrific, with wing-forward Jarrad Hayler making a good debut.

‘Our front row caused them problems and our backs did well.’