Havant toast Hampshire Cup success

Havant celebrate their Hampshire Cup victory. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (150799-3)
Havant celebrate their Hampshire Cup victory. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (150799-3)
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Havant lifted the Hampshire Cup with a 15-13 success against Gosport & Fareham.

The final lived up to expectations as the two sides produced a thriller in front of a large crowd at Gosport Park.

Both teams gave everything as they went at each other for 80 minutes in a game that could have gone either way.

Head coach Will Knight admitted he could hardly speak at the end of the contest.

‘It was an absolute belter of a game and I had no voice left,’ said Knight.

‘In the end, it came down to just a couple of points between the two teams.

‘Supporters from both clubs turned out in their droves and they witnessed a real treat.

‘It was a real cauldron of an atmosphere and the whole occasion was a credit to all concerned.

‘It was a clash of styles with Gosport turning over a lot of ball in the forwards and us looking to spread the ball wide.’

Gosport struck the early blows with two Tom Lewis penalties to take a 6-0 lead.

Then Havant set up an attack and spread the ball into the midfield where centre Ben Brierley smashed his way over the line.

The visitors had Ross Parkin yellow-carded which allowed Gosport to take charge.

Mark Pollard claimed a touchdown from a driven line-out and the conversion gave Gosport a 13-5 lead at half-time.

Havant came out of the blocks quickly at the start of the second half, with Ed Wilks scoring in the corner.

Jake Reynolds knocked the conversion over off the post, reducing the deficit to a single point.

Reynolds then kicked a penalty to set up a rousing final 20 minutes.

The home side thought they’d gone back in front, with a try 10 minutes from the end.

Their joy was short-lived, however, as the referee brought them back for a forward pass, and Havant held out to claim the crown.

‘Our defence was fantastic throughout,’ said Knight.

‘Winning this puts us back at the top of the county tree and is important for us at this stage.

‘We have been on a journey for three years, ever since we dropped out of the National League.

‘That season we only had eight players at the training session before the season started.

‘Since then we have worked hard at bringing players through and giving them opportunities.

‘This is a tangible reward for all the work put in.

‘I am impressing on the players, though, that we must view this as a starting point and not an end point.’