Knight pleased with progress of maturing Havant

Jerome Trail. Picture: Mick Young (151765-10)
Jerome Trail. Picture: Mick Young (151765-10)
Gosport & Fareham head coach Barry Bridgman. Picture: Neil Marshall (161436-4)

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Havant came through a robust test to secure a 32-25 London one south win at relegation-battling Charlton Park.

In a rollercoaster contest it was the visitors who maintained their composure to score five tries on the way to victory.

Heada coach Will Knight felt the win showed the increasing maturity of his squad.

‘We had to have our wits about us in a physical and abrasive contest,’ said the Havant chief.

‘Charlton Park were every bit as robust as you would expect from a team fighting for their lives at the bottom.

‘They certainly didn’t make life easy for us.

‘Having said that, although the lead changed hands a number of times, I didn’t ever feel it was a game we were going to lose.

‘Despite the pressure they put us under at times we found our composure and scored five tries.

‘That is really pleasing and shows the progress we are continuing to make.’

The visitors were slow out of the blocks and found themselves 10-0 down after only 13 minutes.

Charlton Park scored a converted try under the posts following a quick tap penalty and soon added a penalty kick for offside.

That stung Havant into action and they responded with a try of their own from the restart.

When the hosts fumbled the kick it bounced into the arms of Jerome Trail and the powerful hooker set off on a run to the home twenty-two.

There the ball was shifted out to the right for Ben Brierley to score in the corner.

The two sides swapped penalties before Havant took the lead for the first time with prop forward Jack Ward-Golden marauding over following a good break by Dave Sweeney.

Pat Gains added the conversion to give Havant a 15-13 advantage.

On the stroke of half-time, a defensive error gifted Charlton a try to give them a 20-15 lead at the break.

Tries from Grant Morris and Gav Hart after the break saw the pendulum swing back Havant’s way.

But poor tackling let Charlton Park in for another try to make it 25-25.

With the home side pressing, it was Havant who broke out to clinch the win with a converted Gains try.

‘We showed a calmness and sense of purpose at the right times,’ said Knight.

‘There was good leadership across the team which led to improved decision making.

‘The players realised they were not playing their best rugby but still possessed enough to win ugly.

‘It is quite encouraging to see that happening from my point of view.

‘The squad is growing in stature and belief in what they can achieve.

‘This will be tested further when we host title-chasing Guildford next.’