Butterworth returns to help Havant stun Guildford

Havant saw off Guildford in a great match. Picture: Neil Marshall
Havant saw off Guildford in a great match. Picture: Neil Marshall
Joel Knight. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

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Graeme Butterworth made a successful return to the Havant ranks as he helped them beat London one south title-chasers Guildford in a thriller at Hooks Lane.

Butterworth, who captained Havant in the past, returned to the club in November after spells at Portsmouth and United Services Portsmouth.

It was his first game back after injury and work commitments kept him out of action in the past two months.

Havant head coach Will Knight fully appreciated the quality Butterworth brought to his team in the 24-23 win.

He said: ‘Graeme’s return brought greater experience and nous to the team.

‘At first he was due to be a replacement but got called up into the starting line-up.

‘He gives us a physical presence and his ability to play with an edge.

‘At the same time, his experience means he remains calm in tight situations.

‘That benefits the youngsters we have in the team and can count for a lot at times.

‘Graeme did well but then all the players put their hands up and did brilliantly.

Havant ended an entertaining first half trailing 15-11 at the interval to a dangerous Guildford side.

After falling behind to an early penalty, Havant hit back to score the opening try of the game.

The home side successfully drove a line-out close to the visitors line and Luke Barefoot broke off to score.

Though Joel Knight knocked over two penalties, Guildford grabbed the initiative with two tries.

Guildford made a strong start to the second half, quickly stretching their lead to 23-11.

‘It looked like the game could run away from us and in the past it would have done,’ said Knight.

‘Now we have a lot more resolve and maintained our belief we could find a way back.’

The Havant front-five started to dominate the visitors and this allowed the home side to start applying pressure.

They got themselves back into it with a superb try at the end of a move that started inside their own half.

Havant whipped the ball wide where Joel Knight made an incisive beak before throwing an inside pass for Pete Lines to score.

Knight added the conversion and kept his nerve to fire over the winning penalty, five minutes from time.

It was a superb kick from just inside the touchline but Knight made light of the pressure.

‘In many ways this is our best win of the season because it shows our increased resolve,’ said Will Knight.

‘It is our third consecutive win and shows our ability to close games out.

‘There was a determination and belief that we can find ways to win games.’