Havant lead punctured as pumped-up Dover battle back

Joel Knight crossed for a solo try
Joel Knight crossed for a solo try
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Tom Whitehouse. Picture: Neil Marshall (171730-81)

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Havant had to settle for a 21-21 draw at Dover after throwing away a good advantage.

The Hooks Lane outfit got themselves into a strong position, 21-10 ahead with just 10 minutes remaining.

Also, the home side were down on numbers due to two yellow cards.

But with the match there for the taking, Will Knight’s side stopped playing.

It was all the more frustrating after they had endured a nightmare journey to Dover.

The team spent a long period sat on the side of the M25 after their coach suffered a puncture.

‘Our preparation wasn’t ideal but the players knew they had to get themselves sorted quickly,’ said Knight.

‘At the start, though, we looked as though we had spent a long time on the coach and quickly conceded 10 points.

‘We hit back and, with 10 minutes to play, everything looked rosy for us.

‘Then, instead of closing the game out, we stopped playing and threw it away.

‘A few of our players switched off thinking the game was already won.

‘In the end, we felt Dover had pickpocketed us but it was our own fault.

‘Dover scored an early penalty and then scored a try when we had them under pressure.

‘They managed to break out and off-load the ball to go the length of the field to score.’

In the first half, two Joel Knight penalties got Havant on the board before Ben Brierley broke out to add a good try on the stroke of half-time.

‘We had a few words at the break about what we needed to do,’ said Will Knight.

Four minutes into the second half, Joel Knight found a way through the home defence to add an excellent solo try.

He also kicked the conversion to give Havant a 15-10 lead.

Then he landed two more penalties to stretch the lead.

But the visitors switched off and allowed Dover a route back in, to snatch a draw.

‘It felt like a loss at he end of a very long day,’ said Will Knight.

‘On a positive note, though, the other results mean we move up a place and are mathematically safe.’