Havant keen to make most of home comforts

Joel Knight scored a hat-trick of tries against Beckenham last Saturday Picture: Mick Young
Joel Knight scored a hat-trick of tries against Beckenham last Saturday Picture: Mick Young
Tom Whitehouse. Picture: Neil Marshall (171730-81)

Pearce fires warning to triumphant Portsmouth

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Havant are looking to end their home pain with a London one south win over Sutton & Epsom at Hooks Lane (3pm).

Will Knight’s team picked up their first victory last weekend at Beckenham and now want to kick-start their home campaign with another success.

The head coach recognises the importance of getting that first triumph under their belts and believes his side can now push on.

‘Last week was important for the players because they have been putting in a lot of hard work,’ said Knight.

‘It wasn’t just the result but also the manner in which it was achieved that was pleasing.

‘I thought the pack stepped up and really provided a platform to launch our dangerous three-quarters.

‘That platform allowed us to cut loose in attack, which is something we have been threatening to do for a while.

‘Intensity hasn’t been a problem because we have been aggressive and abrasive all season.

‘The difference was we allied it with greater degrees of thought, control and intelligent play.

‘We remained calm and collected under pressure which is not something we have always seen.’

Team captain Joel Knight grabbed a hat-trick of tries at centre against Beckenham and his blossoming partnership with powerful newcomer Ben Brierley is providing a greater cutting edge.

Knight is clearly benefiting from his experiences in the Student’s Rugby League World Cup in the summer when he represented Wales.

In the forwards, Havant have been highly encouraged by the progress of youngster Harry Welton, who will keep his place in the starting line-up this weekend.

In the recent home defeat by Cobham, it was Welton who helped Havant regain the initiative at a time when it looked like they would be swamped.

He took a great catch from the restart and made an explosive burst through the opposition, offloading well to create Havant’s first try of three in a 10-minute purple patch.

Knight thinks Welton is a good example of what the club are trying to do.

‘Harry came through the colts last season and we try to give the youngsters opportunities to develop,’ said Knight.

‘He is like a sponge and constantly wants to learn and improve.

‘The lad also knows he has to maintain consistency of performance because there is a lot of competition in his position.’

Havant will give a debut to winger Luke Tuna-Buna, who replaces the unavailable Josh Blackburn.

Tuna-Buna played for Salisbury last season but has moved into the Havant area and looks an exciting prospect.

The experienced Grant Morris returns at scrum-half in place of Nic Benjamin, who has theatre duties, with academy scrum-half Jake Hewitt making a senior appearance in the replacements.

‘It is important that we back up last week’s win with another good performance, otherwise it will make that win meaningless,’ said Knight.

‘Crucially, we must look to build upon it.’

Havant: Smith, Tuna-Buna, Brierley, Knight, Blackburn Loz, Sweeney, Morris, Ward-Golden, Austin, Marks, Neil, Welton, Goodger, Copeland, Barfoot Luke, Powell, O’Gorman, Hewitt