Cup loss is bitter blow for Havant

Joel Knight. Picture: Mick Young
Joel Knight. Picture: Mick Young
Darren Bamford got Havant off to a flying start. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (181102-1)

Knight: Havant made big statement with top win

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Will Knight felt Havant’s 13-11 extra-time Hampshire Cup final defeat against Basingstoke at Down Grange was ‘unjust’.

The Hooks Lane side were leading 11-6 with just four minutes left in the second period of extra-time.

When the ball went loose near the Havant posts a Basingstoke player slid in to claim the touchdown.

‘It was a clear knock on before he slid over and grounded the ball,’ said Knight.

‘The touch-judge pointed it out but the referee took no notice.

‘It was a real shame.

‘We played well and posed more of an attacking threat for most of the game.

‘It was a pity we couldn’t convert the two or three clear-cut scoring chances we created.

‘On a wet day the final pass often went to ground.

‘Missing those chances cost us dearly in the end.

‘We did more than enough to win the game.’

All the points in normal time came in the opening 11 minutes, with Joel Knight matching two Basingstoke penalties.

Havant grabbed the initiative six minutes into extra-time when academy winger Jay Wilkes scored a well-taken try.

The Hooks Lane squad looked set to lift the trophy until the controversial score at the death.

‘We can be proud of our performance against a team that has been playing a 
level above us,’ said Will Knight.

‘The players put in a fantastic shift and at times tackled themselves to a standstill.

‘We were the better side on the day.

‘Last year when they were in our league Basingstoke beat us well in both games.

‘This performance is a good recognition of how far we have come since then.

‘We can look forward to our games against them next season with a degree of confidence.’

Havant’s coaching team can feel satisfied they have got the club back on track.

They consolidated their position in London one 
south this term, as they continue rebuilding towards a return to the National League.