Havant draw strength from dogged display against Dorking

James McSeveny kicked well for Havant
James McSeveny kicked well for Havant
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Tom Whitehouse. Picture: Neil Marshall (171730-81)

Pearce fires warning to triumphant Portsmouth

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It’s not all doom and gloom at Hooks Lane, despite Havant’s 39-9 defeat at the hands of title-chasers Dorking.

The final scoreline flattered the visitors, as Havant were competitive for long periods in a game disrupted by the elements.

And the hosts showed enough grit to suggest they can still survive at National League three London & south east level.

‘We were certainly more dogged than we have been in recent weeks and didn’t fall apart,’ said director of rugby Adam King.

‘For the first half hour, with the wind behind us, we pinned Dorking back.

‘Crucially, we squandered a couple of chances to score tries and if we had taken them it would have made a big difference.

‘We could have gone 20 points clear and that would have made it more difficult for Dorking.’

James McSeveny converted three out of four penalties but second-placed Dorking made the most of the let offs to score their own tries.

As a result Havant went into the interval trailing 10-9 and facing the strong winds.

‘We failed to give ourselves the cushion that we needed,’ said King.

In the second half, Dorking’s experienced outside-half pinned Havant back and the visiting forwards took command.

Using the elements, Dorking outgunned Havant but the hosts still only trailed 24-9 until a couple of scores at the death made the defeat heavier than they deserved.

‘With eight games left there is very much all to play for,’ said King.

‘All our remaining games are against teams in the middle or below us in the league.

‘They are all games that we can get something from if we approach them with the same tenacity.

‘We are also hoping to have up to five experienced players back, which will make us that little bit more competitive again.

‘Players like Rich Neill and second team captain Pete Whelan have shown how good they can be.

‘Our fate is still very much in our own hands.’