ROB MATTHEWS admits Havant had to dig deep before securing their 33-18 bonus-point win at Dover in London one south.
A series of injuries during the game made life difficult for the visitors but they showed great character to overcome the setbacks.
It was an important result for Havant, looking to bounce back from the previous week’s defeat at Tottonians.
‘We got the win but it was under extremely testing circumstances,’ said director of rugby Matthews.
‘It was a case of really having to knuckle down at times.
‘We ended the game with a second row forward playing on the wing and three prop forwards in the front row.
‘Our squad was pushed to the limit but they came through it.
‘Though we had put more than 100 points on Dover at our place earlier in the season we knew this was going to be different.
‘They always seem to be a lot stronger at home.
‘Not many teams score more than 30 points against them at home and come away with the bonus point.
‘We have to be pleased, though it was the result that was more important than the performance.’
Havant started brightly playing down the slope and soon forged ahead.
Winger Jerome Rudder made a terrific break down the left before being tackled five yards short of the line.
Rudder managed to pop the ball up to the supporting Darren Bamford, who went under the posts for a try.
Joel Knight converted and also replied to a home penalty with a try following excellent inter-play between the backs and forwards.
‘We kept making a number of uncharacteristic errors which enabled Dover to remain in the game,’ said Matthews.
On the stroke of half-time Richard Janes scored at the end of a Havant breakaway sending the visitors into the interval with a healthy 21-6 lead.
Havant had lost Loz Blackburn to injury early on and 10 minutes into the second period Bamford joined him on the sidelines
They were also soon joined by hooker Jerome Trail who damaged his shoulder going over for a try.
Dover, now playing down the slope, were able to put Havant under pressure and closed the gap with a try.
Rich Neal, however, added another Havant try to see them safely home.
Havant are keen to secure second place in the division with the leaders well ahead of them.
But Tunbridge Wells are five points behind them and will be hoping to close the gap.
‘Tunbridge play three of the four bottom sides in their next few games,’ said Matthews.
‘That makes it vital we keep winning and pick up as many bonus points as we can.’