Luke Hunter reaches to try to steal the ball from a Havant line-out. Picture by Ashley Vaughan.
Sandown and Shanklin 14, Havant 38
WITH Sandown at the bottom of London South West 3 and Havant playing two leagues higher, the writing appeared to be on the wall for this Hampshire Cup game.
But instead of the walkover it probably should have been, Havant left the field knowing they had prevailed in a very tough match against a Sandown side determined to give it their very best.
Havant may have been similar in stature but they were a very powerful unit, as well as very quick. Sandown made the early mistake of trying to kick their way clear of danger and this invited Havant’s speedy back line in, and the game was just three minutes old when they scored their first try.
Patient build-up play led to their second converted try and five minutes later, from a similar driving move they touched down again, converted again to make it 19-0.
At this point the portends looked ominous but Sandown, to their credit, never stopped trying and an infringement allowed Gavin Bodrell to score with a penalty kick. Shortly afterwards Bodrell made a surging diagonal run before being brought down and from this, Havant had a player sin-binned. Bodrell kicked the resulting penalty and then, with the benefit of an extra man, the hosts put together some lovely attacking moves, resulting eventually in Sam Tyson touching down in the corner after a lovely break from Luke Chandler. Bodrell missed the conversion but the half-time score of 11-19 was more than fair.
Sandown came out fired up and within seconds of the restart, Bodrell kicked a sweet drop goal to bring the score to within five points. They continued to press and put in some terrific tackles — particularly from the likes of Wayne Williams and Sam Rees — to keep the visitors at bay.
Eventually though, tiredness began to set in and Havant ran in three tries, two of which were converted, to take the win. Between these tries, Sandown kept on running, kept on driving, stealing ball from Havant line-outs and never stopped. If they can keep playing like this every week, victories are sure to come.
Sandown and Shanklin: Pacey, Kulik, Eldridge, S. Rees, Hunter, W. Williams, Jones, Tolley, Booth, Bodrell, Muir, Chandler, Cooper, Tyson, Baxandall, S. Williams, Gough, Buxton, J. Rees.