Morris treble not enough for Havant against Staines

Pete Austin dictates play for Havant against Staines
Pete Austin dictates play for Havant against Staines
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Tom Whitehouse. Picture: Neil Marshall (171730-81)

Pearce fires warning to triumphant Portsmouth

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A second-half hat-trick of tries from Havant captain Grant Morris proved in vain as his side lost 27-25 to Staines at Hooks Lane.

It was a seventh-consecutive National League three London & south-east defeat.

A poor first half left the home side trailing 19-0 and though Morris led the fightback, they left themselves with too much to do.

‘We let them get away from us in the opening 40 minutes,’ said director of rugby Will Knight.

‘In the first half we stood off them, failed to impose ourselves and there was a lack of fight.

‘There were a few choice words said during the interval as I explained the seriousness of our situation, not that it should need explaining.

‘The result was a far more positive performance when we went back out.

‘We displayed a lot more aggression and contested everything.

‘When we took the game to Staines, they didn’t like it and it caused them problems.

‘If we had played like that in the first half we would have picked up our first win.’

The home side introduced Darren Bamford at half-time and his surging runs provided them with a more combative presence in the centre.

Morris grabbed the first of his tries soon after the break, going over under the posts after some good driving play and continuity.

Joel Knight added the conversion.

Bamford created a second try out wide for Morris with an excellent break but the visitors hit back to open up a 27-18 lead.

Morris completed his hat-trick at the death, cutting through to score a converted try to the left of the posts, but it was too little too late.

‘Although the second half was positive we have to look at our first-half performance,’ said Knight.

‘We needed to give ourselves a platform but didn’t.

‘Realistically we are in a mini league of five teams at the bottom and we must aim to get to the top of that group.

‘We have played two of those teams and lost both.

‘The reality is we have to start taking our opportunities.

‘We are starting to win a lot more ball though and that is encouraging.’

Havant are at home again next weekend against high-fliers Ampthill.