Havant shoot themselves in foot

Jay Wilks, left, impressed after replacing Ben Brierley. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (150799-9)
Jay Wilks, left, impressed after replacing Ben Brierley. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (150799-9)
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Havant were their own worst enemy as they slipped to a 37-22 London one south defeat against Sutton & Epsom at Hooks Lane.

It was a first home loss for the Hooks Lane side.

And coach Will Knight accused his men of throwing their chances away.

‘We left at least 20 points out on the pitch,’ he said.

‘It was a game where, particularly in the first half, we looked relatively comfortable.

‘We had much of the play but just couldn’t score.

‘There were at least four clear-cut opportunities for us to go over the line but every time we got it wrong.

‘We either knocked the ball on, dropped it or made the wrong decision close to their try-line.

‘Against a team like Sutton & Epsom, you just can’t afford to do that. When they got chances they were far more ruthless and clinical in taking them.

‘In the end, it was a case of what might have been.’

The home side didn’t start well and conceded a soft score after five minutes – with the visitors’ number eight stepping inside the defence for a converted try.

Both teams then swapped penalties with Joel Knight scoring the Havant points.

But the visitors tightened their grip with another converted try right on the stroke of half-time.

The hosts had squandered a series of clear-cut chances to take command before then.

‘We lacked the necessary precision at times when we needed to be at our most lethal,’ said Will Knight.

‘Our composure in the red zone wasn’t good enough.’

The home side lost powerful winger Ben Brierley to a groin strain at the break – although his replacement, Jay Wilks, did well in the second period.

Sutton & Epsom soon stretched their lead to 29-3 before Havant finally sparked into life.

After a sustained spell of pressure on the visitors’ line, scrum-half Jake Reynolds went over for an easy try.

Joel Knight added the extras and soon afterwards Ed Wilks touched down.

The full-back came up to finish a well-worked move and bring Havant to within two scores of their opponents.

Although the south London team responded with a penalty, Havant went over for their third try through Jay Wilks – Joel Knight again successful with his kick.

However, Sutton & Epsom sealed victory with a try at the death.

‘In our first two home games, one of the things we did well was take our chances,’ said Will Knight.

‘So it was disappointing we didn’t do the same again.

‘We played lots of good rugby and did plenty of good things only to make mistakes when we should have scored.

‘When we got into scoring positions, we needed to be far more efficient.’