Match Report Havant vs London Welsh by Colin Abbott
This was going to be an important match for both teams with regard to their aspirations in the league. The Welsh line-up was very similar to last weeks with Dafydd Manley replacing Elis Staines as a centre threequarter and Rhydian George replacing Tom Williams. Andy Black took the No 8 place. The Welsh started off strongly and after a couple of minutes were awarded a penalty only forty yards from the Havant line, which Matt Hodgson duly scored. Score 0 – 3.
After the restart the game moved back and forth for the next five minutes fairly evenly. Unfortunately, Welsh had two penalties given against them in their own half only a minute apart in time, the second being very kickable twenty yards out from the Welsh line. Havant duly scored.
Score 3 – 3.
Two minutes later Welsh were awarded a penalty in the Havant half, the kick to touch giving them a lineout on Havant’s five yard line. The lineout worked perfectly evolving into the expected maul, but the ball was released out to the side very quickly and one of the Welsh front row scored a simple try (I was unable to see exactly who scored – apologies). The try was not converted. Score 3 – 8.
After the restart Welsh had the better of the next five minutes; the first scrum of the match took place in this period and was a stalemate. Welsh camped in the Havant half and a series of thrusts at the line eventually saw Tom Douglas gallop across for a try under the posts. Converted by Matt Hodgson. Score 3 – 15. After the restart Havant attacked repeatedly. A penalty against the Welsh gave Havant a lineout on the five yard line, and a classic maul rolled inexorably over the Welsh line for a try. Try not converted. Score 8 – 15.
Another restart and Havant pushed hard into the Welsh half, and Tololima Savaiinaea was shown the yellow card for a high tackle. Two successive penalties against the Welsh put Havant in a good position only forty yards from the Welsh line; the Welsh were given a slight respite when advancing Havant backs were shunted into touch. Minutes before half-time Tom Douglas also left the field having been shown a yellow card. With Welsh down to thirteen men on-field, Havant pushed very hard and were awarded a penalty try and Ed Couzens also left the field having been yellow-carded. Score 15 – 15.
The Welsh followed up their restart and amazingly outsmarted the Havant defence for Sam Johnson to score. Try converted by Matt Hodgson. Score 15 – 22.
To start the second half Welsh had the kick-off and pursued play in the Havant half being rewarded after only a couple of minutes with a penalty kick which was successfully taken by Matt Hodgson. Score 15 – 25.
The next period of the game was Havant attacking in the Welsh half, their reward being a try near the Welsh posts, the try being successfully converted. Score 22 – 25. There were two substitutions around now, Hywel Williams replacing Adam Nixon and Jack Parkhurst for Chay Bailey. Both teams pressed hard whenever they had possession, with the game moving from one half to the other constantly. Welsh had their brilliant moments but were never quite able to score, and then gave Havant their opportunity with a penalty kick only forty yards out from the Welsh line for standing up in the scrum. The kick was successful. Score 25 -25.
With only minutes left of the match Welsh attacked and were awarded a penalty in the Havant half but Matt Hodgsons kick was just feet short of going over. Havant came back strongly and in the last move of the match scored from a rolling maul which must have travelled forty five yards. Try Converted. Score 32 – 25.
During the match I was surprised at how much more effective the Welsh tackling was, with Havant attacks going backwards rather than making ground. Overall Welsh played better than Havant but were undone by the number of penalties they gave away all through the match. Havant were incredibly lucky to win, this not being the first time they have won a match in the last minutes.
|February 3, 2024
|Regional 1: South Central
|Hooks Lane Ground
|Hooks Lane, Leigh Park, Bedhampton, Havant, Hampshire, South East England, England, PO9 3EA, United Kingdom