Havant reclaim local rugby pride from Gosport

Havant's Ollie Grant scores against Gosport. Picture: Paul Jacobs
Havant's Ollie Grant scores against Gosport. Picture: Paul Jacobs
Reuben Knight finds space to run in one of Havant's nine tries. Picture: Neil Marshall (180422-190)

Knight: We’ll be back

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Havant re-established local bragging rights with a 32-17 London one south win over newly-promoted Gosport & Fareham at Gosport Park.

The home side’s Hampshire Cup successes of the past two years hurt the Hooks Lane club but they put the record straight with a forceful performance.

On a blazing hot afternoon the visitors displayed greater fitness to take the game away from their hosts in the second half.

‘It was a very good result on a day that tested everyone’s fitness,’ said Havant coach Will Knight.

‘The team took another big step forward playing the better rugby over the 80 minutes.

‘Last season Gosport & Fareham blew us away in the cup when we were going through a difficult time.

‘We’re now in a totally different place and that was never going to happen again.

‘There’s a lot more confidence in our camp and we are a lot more competitive.

‘When Gosport & Fareham came at us all guns blazing from the start, we were better able to deal with it.’

After falling behind to a fourth-minute converted try, Havant hit back with a try of their own in the 15th minute.

A terrific break from number eight Nathan Bellman through the centre set up a good position and when the ball was worked wide, winger Loz Blackburn scored in the corner.

Seven minutes before the break Havant got their noses in front with a close-range converted try by prop forward Ollie Grant, Joel Knight adding the extra points.

The home side hit back to regain the lead with a converted try on the stroke of half-time.

Another penalty at the start of the second half extended the home side’s lead before Havant struck back through a second converted Blackburn try and two quickfire Knight penalties.

Dickie Duke sealed the Havant win in the final five minutes, stepping inside two tackles in midfield before racing underneath the posts.

‘It is very pleasing to start with two wins, though we know there is still a lot of work to do,’ said Knight.

‘We knew we had to play well to beat Gosport because Mark Wells, Les White and the coaching team had them well prepared.

‘The squad are all feeling very positive about what we are trying to do. Things are building nicely for us.’