Havant ‘raise the bar’ to defeat league leaders

Steve Cruddas and Jerome Trail, right. Picture: Mick Young (151335-09)
Steve Cruddas and Jerome Trail, right. Picture: Mick Young (151335-09)
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Havant showed their steel to upset London one south leaders Chobham in their 22-20 win at Hooks Lane.

Will Knight’s team produced their best display of the season to inflict a first defeat on the visitors in a thrilling encounter.

A delighted Knight felt his team’s win was well deserved.

The head coach said: ‘It was a fabulous performance and we couldn’t have asked for any more from our players.

‘The whole team raised the bar in terms of level of performance.

‘We know if we can maintain it then we will be an incredibly difficult team to beat.

‘Chobham are a good side and have been around the top of our league for two or three seasons.

‘However, we brought a ferocity and an intensity to our game which made it difficult for them

‘We got in their faces and didn’t allow them to impose themselves on us. From a coaching point of view, it was fantastic to see things introduced at training coming to life in a game.’

It looked ominous early on when Chobham forged ahead with an early converted try.

The two teams then swapped penalties – with Joel Knight putting over the Havant kick – before the hosts levelled the scores with a try straight off the training ground.

A line-out move created space and hooker Jerome Trail powered through the middle to go in from 40 metres.

Joel Knight added the conversion but the game continued to see-saw.

Before half-time Loz Blackburn broke to halfway and put Joel Knight in for another converted try – only for Chobham to level at 17-17 with a try of their own.

Havant’s kicker then grabbed his second try on the hour mark following a terrific burst by Steve Cruddas.

In the closing stages, Chobham threw everything at Havant but were restricted to a single penalty.

‘We were very solid defensively and even at the end I remained confident Chobham wouldn’t get through,’ said Will Knight.

‘There was a real sense of “they shall not pass” in our defence and we were flying into tackles.

‘The statistics were impressive with an over 90-per-cent completion rate in our tackles.

‘We were far more accurate and precise than our previous few games and it paid dividends.’

The win moved Havant up to sixth in the league and their head coach is convinced they are making progress.

‘We know if this is a one-off it is no good to us ,’ said Will Knight.

‘The challenge now is to go out and make this the norm.

‘Our injury list is still extensive and we virtually have a team sidelined at the moment.

‘But when those players return it will put us in an even greater position of strength.’