Havant take derby spoils against Portsmouth

Havant get to grips with Portsmouth
Havant get to grips with Portsmouth
Jim Pearce

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Portsmouth coach Ian Chandler hit out at the falling standard of rugby in Hampshire after watching his side lose 29-8 to Havant in the quarter-finals of the Gales Hampshire Cup.

The city club led 8-0 early on but the greater experience and power of the National League visitors told.

Chandler admitted his young side contributed to their own downfall, with some poor decision making.

‘It was a dreadful error-strewn game and one of the worst I have seen for a long time,’ said Chandler.

‘Both teams lacked confidence and have a lot of work to do if they are to avoid relegation in their respective leagues.

‘It goes to show how far the standard of rugby has dropped in the county.’

Portsmouth flew out of the blocks, taking the game to their senior visitors, only to waste a couple of early kicks at goal.

When they did make the breakthrough, it came from a bizarre Patrick Bion try.

Andy Barnes missed the target with a penalty attempt.

And with Havant assuming the ball would go over the dead-ball line, Bion raced up to get the touchdown.

Barnes added the conversion and then a penalty to give Portsmouth the early advantage.

Havant hit back, however, with two quick-fire tries in the five minutes before half-time to take a 14-8 lead.

Nick Goodger drove over for Havant’s first try, with winger Loz Blackburn running in on a good line for the second under the posts.

‘In Grant Morris, Havant had the necessary experience, and he virtually controlled and won the game for Havant,’ said Chandler.

‘It was our own fault, though, because we gave a stupid penalty away when we had them in trouble, just before they scored.

‘We conceded penalty after penalty, which enabled them to twice kick for position and score from it.’

Two more Havant tries soon after half-time left Portsmouth chasing as Havant had their best spell 15 minutes after the break.

Dickie Dukes grabbed a try before Darren Bamford added another with a superb individual effort, sidestepping a number of defenders.

Goodger had the final say with his second try of the game.

The home side kept battling but lacked the quality to break through.

Havant director of rugby Will Knight was delighted to see his side pick up their first win of the season.

‘From our perspective, it was a good win and it is always nice to beat local rivals,’ said Knight.

‘The league is obviously vital for us and we needed a good performance to set us up for next week’s crucial game against Luton at Hooks Lane.

‘I felt we got that and it was solid if not spectacular.

‘We played most of the rugby and in the second half pressed on and upped the tempo.

‘Portsmouth fought well and didn’t give up but struggled to do anything with the possession they had.

‘We took our tries well and there were some good individual performances out there.’