Havant man on target in valiant Hampshire defeat

Havant's Rob Cuffe. Picture: Neil Marshall (171150-16)
Havant's Rob Cuffe. Picture: Neil Marshall (171150-16)
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A last-ditch penalty condemned Hampshire under-20s to an agonising 25-22 defeat against Cornwall at St Austell in their RFU Championship division one pool fixture.

The visitors drew level at the start of injury-time with a try from outside-half Harry Johnstone only to concede the crucial penalty.

Hampshire manager Mike Greenslade was proud of his players.

‘To come all this way to the hotbed of rugby in Cornwall and score four tries is fantastic,’ he said.

‘It was a little disheartening to lose it in virtually the last play of the game.

‘We struggled a bit in the scrums but we knew if we could play at a high tempo we still had a chance.

‘That is what we did and ended up going very close.’

Havant’s Rob Cuffe was among the try scorers for Hampshire.

Meanwhile, Hampshire under-17s opened their campaign with a comprehensive 43-7 win against Sussex at Rugby Camp.

The hosts scored seven tries with Portsmouth Grammar School student Elliott Haydon kicking five conversions.

Hampshire paid the price for starting poorly in both halves of the game.

There was only a minute on the clock when Cornwall scored their first try following a knock-on by the visitors.

While the home side applied all the pressure and dominated the scrums, Hampshire drew level on 25 minutes.

Captain – and Swansea University student – Josh Moore crossed for the unconverted try.

Cornwall seized the initiative with tries either side of the interval stretching their lead to 19-5.

Gallantly, Hampshire hit back again when centre Russ Bennett set-up winger Eddie Jenkinson for a try.

On 56 minutes, Havant wing forward Rob Cuffe reduced the deficit still further with a smartly taken try from a quick penalty.

The hosts then knocked over a penalty before the game was decided in a thrilling finale.

Meanwhile, Hampshire under-17s opened their campaign with a comprehensive 43-7 win against Sussex at Rugby Camp.

The hosts scored seven tries with Portsmouth Grammar School student Elliott Haydon kicking five conversions.

Hampshire manager Rob Batley felt his team performed well once they settled down.

‘We only led 10-7 at half-time and that was down to our nerves and a bit of edginess,’ he said.

‘In the second half we put our game together and some of the support play was excellent. We calmed down and everything fell into place.’

Sam Hill-Cousins scored two tries, while Jack Breen, Tom Bloomer, Louis Harling, Luke Margham and Max Fletcher all crossed the whitewash.