Havant chief delighted as troops stay focused

Jerome Rudder. Picture: Mick Young (161176-08)
Jerome Rudder. Picture: Mick Young (161176-08)
Gosport & Fareham head coach Barry Bridgman. Picture: Neil Marshall (161436-4)

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Havant gave further evidence they can be London one south title challengers with a 33-10 win over Chiswick at Hooks Lane.

Will Knight’s side are joint-second with Civil Service 1863, who they visit in their next game.

Although Havant never looked in danger of losing, the head coach admitted his team had to work harder for the win than the scoreline suggested.

‘We played with a lot of control and organisation in a game that lacked continuity,’ said Knight.

‘The referee had a big influence and there were a series of yellow cards which broke up the rhythm.

‘From our point of view the big positive was the players maintained their focus despite that.

‘It means we remain unbeaten at home and keeps us right up there.’

Havant made a strong start in a frenetic opening to the game – grabbing their first try after five minutes.

Front-row Justin Powell made a good run from the base of the breakdown and the move was carried on to the Chiswick twenty-two by Joel Knight.

When the ball was shifted quickly, winger Jerome Rudder went over in the corner. Joel Knight’s conversion bounced back off the upright.

Almost immediately the home side had Luke Marks yellow carded and from the resulting line-out the visitors claimed a converted try with a catch-and-drive.

Havant regained the lead when scrum-half Wayne John was stopped short of the line and Knight sniped over from the base.

The home side led 19-10 at the break after Jerome Trail scored the first of his two tries.

Both teams suffered from further yellow cards at the start of the second period but Havant took charge to pull away from the visitors.

In a bizarre incident, both teams were reduced to 14 men – again when the referee showed little hesitation in brandishing his cards.

Loz Blackburn took a quick tap penalty but the official blew his whistle to call him back.

Blackburn and the Chiswick fly-half ran into each other and as a result spent the next 10 minutes in the sin bin.

On 72 minutes, powerful centre Ben Brierley crashed over following a period of good pressure.

Within two minutes, Trail picked the ball up on halfway and evaded four tackles to score a converted try.

‘We are where we want to be in the league and we have told the players they have got to enjoy it,’ added Will Knight.

‘They have to be able to thrive on the added pressure every win brings.

‘It is important we maintain our intensity at training and in matches.

‘Our strength in depth has been highly encouraging.

‘Our next game is a big one and it will be interesting to see how we go.’