Dolphins storm to county title

Havant Dolphins under-15s won their third Hampshire Cup in a row
Havant Dolphins under-15s won their third Hampshire Cup in a row
Havant full-back Ben Chambers. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (181102-1)

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Havant under-15s are celebrating a third successive Hampshire Cup title.

The Dolphins maintained their county supremacy for a third year with a comprehensive demolition of Southampton-based outfit Trojans, running out 24-0 winners on their rivals’ home patch.

Matt Lee grabbed two tries, Harry Norton added a third and Lewis Sampson completed the scoring as the Dolphins cruised home without conceding a point.

The first half was fairly even, although the Dolphins enjoyed the greater territorial advantage.

Trojans had the better of the lineout, the Dolphins were stronger in the scrum, and the breakdown was fairly even, although the game struggled to flow with so many minor infringements spotted by the officials.

While it was a tight tussle in the opening half, Lee’s first effort around the 15-minute mark was enough to put Havant ahead at the interval.

An impressive drive from the forwards saw them held up over the line. But the resulting five-metre scrum set the platform for a lovely move as both centres acted as decoys to hold the defence before the ball was spun out to Oli May to draw the last defenders and put Lee into the corner.

Neither side could add to the scoreboard, with the Dolphins possibly guilty of not putting enough bodies into the breakdown at times.

But Lee added his second try of the game almost immediately from the second-half kick-off as the visitors turned up the heat on their opponents.

Dolphins secured the ball on the Trojans 22 before a series of passes ended with Lee finding space to touch down in the corner once again.

With a 10-point advantage, the Dolphins were well in control and knew they could rely on a miserly defence that has not conceded a single try in two seasons of Hampshire League and cup rugby.

When Trojans won possession and the ball went to their backs, they were under pressure and either kicked the ball away or were forced to run laterally, whereas when the Dolphins secured possession they provided a stable platform for the backs who were able to exploit space with fast, direct running and quick hands.

The Havant club effectively made the game safe when Norton’s strength and pace led to a 17-0 lead with a converted try.

With the ball set up on the Trojans 22 – thanks to some dynamic play from the forwards – Norton picked up and made a successful break for the line, even with two opponents hanging off him.

If the first three tries were impressive, the fourth was the icing on the cake as Dolphins capped a fine display with an excellent team try, finished off by Sampson.

From a scrum on halfway, Danny Heyes received the ball in space, drove forward sucking in defenders, before a clever interchange between Sampson and Will Vaughan set the former free to go over the line.

Dolphins head coach Mark Norton said: ‘It was an outstanding effort from every player and they thoroughly deserved their third successive Hampshire Cup title.’