Joel’s goals prove crucial for Havant

Joel Knight, right. Picture: Habibur Rahman (161680-723)
Joel Knight, right. Picture: Habibur Rahman (161680-723)
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Havant were indebted to the boot of Joel Knight as they edged out Sevenoaks 36-32 in a rollercoaster London one south contest at Hooks Lane on Saturday.

The home skipper notched 26 points – with five penalties and three conversions – in a faultless kicking display.

Knight also weighed in with a try for good measure.

While the hosts missed out on the bonus point, head coach Will Knight was happy to take the win.

It kept his side hot on the heels of leaders Sidcup and maintained their unbeaten home record.

‘We didn’t play particularly well but thankfully Joel had his kicking boots on,’ said the Hooks Lane chief.

‘Sevenoaks outscored us on tries but we kicked our extra points which made all the difference in the end.

‘We seemed to lack the fluency that we have had in our last few games.

‘It is difficult to know why because we have trained well and looked sharp in the warm up.

‘But once the game started things didn’t seem to be clicking together.

‘Fortunately our discipline and the pressure we put on them allowed us to eke out the win.

‘That is the nature of league rugby sometimes.

‘You are never going to be at your best in all 26 games and you need to be able to win when you are below par.’

The lead changed hands in a ding-dong first half – with Havant 20-18 up at the break.

After exchanging early penalties, Havant grabbed the first try on 11 minutes with Joel Knight going through from the back of a ruck.

Free-flowing Sevenoaks hit back with two tries to lead 13-10 before Joel Knight pegged them back with a penalty.

Both teams crossed for tries before the interval with Richie Janes scoring for Havant.

It continued to be a close-run affair in the second half with Joel Knight’s boot keeping the hosts in contention.

The crucial home score arrived 10 minutes from the end when they were trailing 29-32 and facing the prospect of a first home defeat of the season.

From a scrummage, Havant worked the ball wide for hooker Jerome Trail to go in near the corner.

Joel Knight made no mistake with the conversion and the home side were able to see the rest of the game out.

Will Knight added: ‘The players were disappointed with their performance and rightly so. We made life difficult for ourselves at times.

‘But we did enough to get over the finishing line.

‘What was pleasing was they didn’t panic and lose their heads when things didn’t go right.

‘We maintained our composure and that was important.

‘There was a huge sense of relief when we won.

‘After being behind on a number of occasions we were happy to take the win.’