‘Huge’ display pulls Havant off the bottom

Havant's Grant Morris
Havant's Grant Morris
Tom Whitehouse. Picture: Neil Marshall (171730-81)

Pearce fires warning to triumphant Portsmouth

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Havant produced a magnificent second-half rearguard action to pull off an outstanding National three London & south east win at Gravesend.

The 14-8 victory hauled the Hooks Lane side off the bottom for the first time this season and was just reward for a performance full of character.

‘I haven’t seen a defensive performance like that from a Havant side for several seasons,’ said the club’s director of rugby Will Knight.

‘It was huge.

‘For the final 20 minutes Gravesend camped in our twenty-two and threw everything at us but the kitchen sink.

‘Time and time again we didn’t shirk a tackle and smashed them back.

‘For the final 10 minutes we only had 13 men because of two yellow cards but we still kept them at bay.

‘It was unbelievable.’

Havant took a seventh-minute lead when Joel Knight linked up with Pat Gains to finish off a loop move and score a try under the posts.

James Read added the conversion.

And Grant Morris extended their lead six minutes before half-time, driving through the cover tackles from the base of a ruck.

Gains added the extra points to give Havant a 14-5 lead at the interval with the hosts scoring a catch-and-drive try.

It was tougher against the strong wind in the second half as the home side upped the intensity of their game.

To Havant’s credit, though, they restricted them to a single penalty to claim a superb win.

‘We didn’t play as much rugby as we would have liked but we dug deep,’ said Knight.

‘It is another sign of the progress we are making because before Christmas we would have buckled under such pressure.

‘Now we are far more resilient and know what to do in those situations.’