Havant notch 'pivotal' win

Tom Whitehouse. Picture: Neil Marshall (171730-81)

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Havant finally got their act together to win ugly as they saw off lowly Diss 23-11 at Hooks Lane.

It wasn't pretty, and in the first half it wasn't even effective.

But, crucially, Havant emerged with the points in their National League Three London & South East clash.

'This was an important five points, even if it wasn't achieved in the manner we would have liked,' said Havant director of rugby Adam King.

'It is a pivotal result, taking us to 28 points with one game to come before Christmas.

'Another win would leave us going into the new year comfortably placed in mid-table. Sometimes you have to grind out a result and that is what we did.

'We finally got our rewards for playing with our brains and it is a crucial win for us.

'It puts us comfortably clear of the bottom two and makes it three wins on the trot which is a big confidence booster.'

The home side struggled to cope with the visitors' big pack in the first half. But once they raised the pace and tempo of their game in the second period Havant took charge.

In the opening 40 minutes, Diss imposed themselves on Havant and went into the break leading 11-3.

Poor defensive work saw Havant concede a try from a kick ahead and the home side created little.

'It took a few harsh words at half-time from coach Simon Burns and a couple of substitutions to make a difference,' added King.

'Apparently the dressing room walls were ringing.

'Diss arrived with a huge pack and looked to keep the ball tight.

'In the first half we were pretty poor, to be fair.

'We didn't use our brains and got mixed up in a forward battle against a very physical pack.

'Struggling to get ball, we gave away a series of silly penalties.

'We don't have the bulk in the forwards to get into a dog fight and instead have to try to play the game at a decent tempo.'

Pacy Jarryd Robinson was sent on along with experienced Graeme Butterworth and that turned the game in Havant's favour.

Once Havant started moving the ball wide quickly, Diss were found wanting.

Within a minute of the restart Havant full-back Dave Keyte went over for a try to bring the scores back to 11-8.

Soon afterwards Robinson's pace led to a superb break for Keyte to claim his second try to put Havant ahead.

Grant Morris chipped ahead for James McSeveney to score in the 70th minute and Morris rounded off the scoring with a good individual try.

King hailed the second-half show. He said: 'Going in behind at half-time, we knew that changes had to be made.

'It was felt we needed a bit more pace and dynamism to move the Diss pack around and that would be the key to us winning the game.

'It worked and we went on to score four tries in the second half.'