MATCH REPORT: Havant RFC 1XV (34) v TWRFC 1XV (28)

Match report: Stuart Montgomery

After several days of heavy rainfall TW were forced to search for an alternative pitch to play on. Despite securing 2 alternatives neither were deemed suitable by the opposition and any grass cancellation would lead to game forfeit and points deductions. This situation finally lead to playing this game at Havant and I am sure Camberley and London Welsh (also fighting for the league promotion) will also be asking questions to the League representative.

Havant started the game very well and early pressure led to the first of many penalties, for a high tackle and Havant backed their lineout with a kick to just 5 out. A clean middle take saw a successful drive over but the kick was missed so just 5-0. A 2nd penalty at the restart, followed by a kick to the 22, clean line out saw the ball moved out to the right hand side, 2nd phase wide again and a forward throwing a dummy to score out wide, this time the kick was good for 12-0 – a result of giving penalties away and just 10 minutes gone. TW competed at the restart and forced a kick into the TW half,  Sam Williams gathered, chipped gathered and moved swiftly to just 10 yards from the Havant line but yet another penalty gave the home side relief. TW stole the lineout and were looking far more settled now but again a penalty in the Havant 22 for breakdown infringement. On 20 minutes TW took a good middle lineout ball just outside the Havant 22 and after 4 or 5 phases the ball moved out to the left and Tom Webster joined from the blindside wing to powerfully go over just outside the left hand post – 12-7. Another penalty from the restart saw Havant kick deep into the 22, clean ball moved to centre pitch and defence just about holds at the expense of a Harrison yellow card and a scrum under the posts. Scrummage held firm but the quick ball enables the scrum half to power over from close range, conversion was easy – 19-7. TW competed well to cover for the lost player and some strong carries by Isbel, Smith, Doherty and Whale were making the Havant side defend, the Havant prop contributed to our cause with a penalty for flying over a ruck straight onto the ground on our 22. Jack Greig kicked to half way, a clean lineout and 7 or 8 phases later Webster went over again from an inside pass from Jack – a well deserved score, an easy conversion saw the score 19-14. TW returned to full strength and the last 2 minutes saw no further score.

Chapel Down Player of the Match: Tom Webster

No changes to start the 2nd half and TW started well and forced a penalty in the Havant 22 which was kicked to the corner. A clean lineout, front peel and 4 or 5 phases back infield saw Ben Whale touch down, Jack duly converted and TW take the lead at 19-21 after just 5 minutes. Havant responded well and settled the game down, again helped by a scrum infringement on half way – kicked the corner, attack to deep inside the TW 22, Defence held strong and a penalty was given to the defending side just 5 out – pressure relieved by Jack to the 40. With the rain starting handling conditions were tough and both sides making errors. A kick by Havant deep into the TW half found Sam Williams who showed a clean pair of heels and Havant were saved just on their 22 by a TW knock on. With the next score crucial Havant exert a bit more pressure and force 2 penalties with the later one being an easy conversion from in front of the posts to regain the lead 22-19. Just 4 minutes later after handling errors by both sides the Havant centre picks a great line on the TW 22 to go over, a good conversion from wide out on the left extends the lead to 29-21. Straight from the restart after a loose exchange the Havant fly half spots space out wide and a great kick is caught on the bounce to go over again. This time the con is missed but the score is 34-21 with just 15 to go. Sam Crichton and Mylo Vanner-MacKew join the field with Luke Hawkins and Tom Webster make way. The steady rain was making it very hard to play constructive rugby and the game was very much stop/start but TW didn’t lose sight of a possible try bonus point. Some strong carries in the Havant led to a TW pen just 10 out, a clean lineout and 4 or 5 phases saw Jay Smith smuggling the ball over. Jack kept calm, kicked the conversion. With the final score 34-28 it meant 2 bonus points for TW and Havant regaining the league top spot with 5 points.

Next week TW host CS Stags at St Marks.                         

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