Derby demolition delights Havant chief

Steve Cruddas, centre. Picture: Allan Hutchings (142734-628)
Steve Cruddas, centre. Picture: Allan Hutchings (142734-628)
Steve Cruddas will start for Havant. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Matthews: Unbeaten streak key to Havant’s promotion charge

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Havant turned on the style to smash derby rivals Basingstoke 38-22 in their London one south clash at Hooks Lane on Saturday.

Head coach Will Knight rated it as their best performance of the season as they outgunned the north Hampshire side in all departments.

In fact, he could not recall a better display in recent times.

‘That was as good a team performance I have seen from us in a couple of seasons,’ said Knight.

‘Our game plan was to go out there and make sure our intensity was greater in all areas of the game.

‘We achieved that and it showed from the first scrummage of the game when we pushed them off their own ball.

‘For the last few seasons we have played second fiddle to Basingstoke and we wanted to put the record straight.

‘We not only recaptured the bragging rights – we did it with some style.’

The home side made a dream start with a try after only four minutes.

After pushing the visitors off their own ball, winger Pete Living sped around his opposite number before sending a lovely weighted pass over his shoulder.

Joel Knight collected and ran in from the twenty-two before converting his own try.

Within four minutes the hosts had struck again, this time Ben Brierley setting up full-back Pat Gains for a try under the posts.

The visitors hit back with a penalty as home wing-forward Steve Cruddas, – celebrating his 200th league appearance for Havant – picked up a yellow card.

But Havant were not to be stopped and continued their rampage with another converted try – this time from winger Ed Wilkes.

The visitors hit back with their first try but a Knight penalty and a superb converted solo try from impressive back-row forward Dan Munden gave Havant a 31-8 interval lead.

Basingstoke came out all guns blazing at the start of the second period and notched a quick try.

Normal service soon resumed, though, with Brierley perfectly placed to take a try-scoring pass from Wilkes.

Knight again converted before a mix-up in defence allowed the visitors a late consolation try.

‘It was a clinical performance and I am delighted,’ said Will Knight.

‘It bodes well for the future but we are not getting too carried away.

‘The players are beginning to see their hard work on the training ground pay off and realising the improvement is not down to luck.

‘They are developing a good trust with each other and getting a greater belief in their ability as players.

‘It was Steve Cruddas’ 200th league appearance for the club and they all wanted to go out and win it for him.

‘It is games like this that are a milestone in the squad’s development.

‘On Saturday they were all brilliant – from one to 18.’