Havant show spirit and heart to come back from dead

Ben Tagituimua helped get Havant back in the game
Ben Tagituimua helped get Havant back in the game
Jerome Trail scored two tries

Havant ‘not spectacular but got job done’ at Maidstone

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Havant produced a remarkable recovery against the odds to beat Tottonians 28-19 in their London one south contest at Water Lane.

A disastrous opening 20 minutes left the visitors trailing 19-0 and down to 14 men for the rest of the game.

The return of hooker Jerome Trail, in his first game back after playing in Australia and Spain, lasted just nine minutes.

Trail received a red card after going to the aid of a team-mate in an off-the-ball fracas.

There seemed little way back for the visitors but the home side hadn’t reckoned on their never-say-die spirit.

Senior coach Will Knight praised the fighting qualities of his side.

‘We looked dead and buried and Tottonians had us on the ropes,’ said Knight. ‘They came flying out of the blocks with the elements behind them and caught us cold.

‘Early on we were wondering what on earth was going on.

‘At the start we were leaden-footed and Tottonians were playing all the rugby.

‘Then we found ourselves down to 14 men and without our specialist line-out thrower.

‘Just when we looked down and out though the players collectively took a big deep breath and decided they could get back into the game.

‘They didn’t want to lose.

‘In terms of sheer spirit and heart it has to be the best Havant performance in my six years coaching the club.’

Tottonians opened the scoring with a try from the penalty resulting from Trail’s dismissal.

The home side added two more tries to put Havant on the back foot.

Once Havant steadied the ship, Joel Knight got them on the scoreboard with a penalty.

Spurred on, Havant opened up and by half-time had closed the gap to 19-16 with two tries and a penalty.

Ben Tagituimua finished off a move started in their own 22 and winger Harry Carr scored out wide.

Knight knocked over a penalty on the stroke of half-time.

After the interval Havant, with the wind and rain at their backs, added two more tries.

Within two minutes of the restart Rob Cuffe put the visitors in front for the first time, Knight adding extras.

Joe Davis picked an excellent line to power over for a try.

‘Tottonians came at us with everything in the final ten minutes,’ said Knight.

‘We put in a magnificent defensive effort during that time to keep them out.

‘It meant we came away with a five-point bonus win and they ended up with nothing.

‘That seemed extremely unlikely early on in the game when we looked shell-shocked.

‘What was most impressive was the way the team were determined not to let the game get away from them.’