WRFCU16S LEAGUE MATCH V HAVANT
Hampshire champions start the season with a win
Havant u16 22
Winchester u16 39
Reigning Hampshire league champions Winchester survived a late fightback by Havant to open the season with a win.
After two minutes Winchester's inside centre Jamie Cook picked up from the breakdown and went over for a try which captain and wing Josh Wise converted to make it 7–0 to Winchester.
Continued pressure from the visitors saw the hosts forced into making a high tackle, and much defensive kicking, but Winchester handling errors denied their progress until a pronounced shove by No.8 Henry Gwilliam gave the impetus for flanker Dan Leake to touch down to make it 12–0 to Winchester. Also at the bottom of the melée for Winchester was Louis Strangeway, who had a great game all around the park making a nuisance of himself.
Not long after, a great over lap move by fly-half Henry Williams saw the ball find outside centre Sam Thompson, who put on the afterburners and offloaded to Josh Wise to run in from distance to make it 17 -0 to Winchester.
Havant finally answered in the 23rd minute. A penalty against Winchester for holding on meant a kick to the corner, the subsequent line-out drive saw the hosts go over for a try to make it 5-17.
Just before half-time, Henry Gwilliam went over for a Winchester try after great pick-and-runs by scrum-half Joey Maggs and Dan Leake. The conversion made it 24-5 to Winchester at Half-time.
The second half opened with another Josh Wise try to make it 29-5 to Winchester.
Not long after he was taken out in the air in spectacular fashion, the irrepressible Henry Gwilliam scored his second try from a line out following a great kick from Jamie Cook. This made it 34-5 to Winchester.
The Winchester backs, given great service by their hardworking forward pack, put on a display of great handling at speed, but also showed they are not averse to some dirty work with a brace of charge-downs in the Havant goal area from Henry Williams.
Further pressure from the visitors led to a try for wing Rufus Beck to make it 39-5 to Winchester.
Then came the Havant rearguard, first scoring from a Winchester mistake in their own 22-yard area. This was converted to make it 12-39. Winchester made a number of tactical and forced substitutions (including full-back Toby Reid, who had an excellent game with his searing runs), and after sustained pressure the hosts were over again to make it 17-39.
Winchester lost their discipline and were moved back by the referee a number times. Despite some stout defending - Winchester were practically camped out on their own try line for the last five minutes, Havant shipped the ball well and went over to make it 22-39. The missed conversion signalled the end of match.
Winchester man of the match was Joey Maggs, making a rare start but showing great speed of delivery and decision-making at the breakdown.
Quality rugby, especially considering this is the first league match, with clear points to improve on for both sides.