A conversion in the closing minutes of a closely contested match kicked by Alex Miller helped Charlton Park secure their first win in the league since mid September.
It was Havant who had the first opportunity to open the scoring when they had a line out close to the Charlton goal line but Charlton’s defence resisted the initial surges.
It was following good defence that the ball was taken up field by Mark Harlow-Singh and from a resultant scrum good disrupted play from returning scrum Alan Knuckey saw him break deep into the Havant half establishing a good attacking position. It was from the resulting line out that Charlton opened the scoring when after winning possession, a rolling maul saw the ball being taken through a series of phases before Ally McQuitty touched the ball down for a try.
Despite having had problems in previous matches in tight play various changes proved beneficial and Charlton began to disrupt Havant. With Miller and Knuckey kicking well tactically allied to Charlton’s control in the forwards, Havant were pinned back into their own half.
It was against Havant’s throw in at a line out that Charlton extended their lead when following them winning and then driving put Havant on the back foot; and when Charlton’s backs were put into space, a break from John Beith good passing and interplay between the backs saw winger Bernard (BJ) Bridges touch the ball down for Charlton’s second try.
It was midway through the first half that Havant finally opened their account when following them disrupting play at a Charlton scrum the home side kicked the ball through the defensive line and strong running saw the ball being touched down for a try.
Charlton increased their lead with a successful penalty kick by Miller from just inside the Havant half following a driving run from Kevin Badger and this was quickly cancelled out by Havant kicking a penalty of their own.
It was an error made at the subsequent restart kick that saw Havant put the ball into touch on the full and at the subsequent line out Charlton drove the ball for 35 yards before Rob Saunderson peeled off to touch the ball down for Charlton’s third try.
An error at the restart from Charlton saw them fail to catch the ball and give away a long range penalty that saw the attempted kick bounce off the cross bar to secure the points. With them coming back into the game Havant’s play began to cause problems and Charlton were forced into giving away numerous penalties. It was following a line out a drive Havant scored a converted try to narrow Charlton’s lead to two points. Charlton rode their luck and were fortunate when a speculative miss pass was almost intercepted by Havant with the way open to Charlton’s try line.
To settle their nerves a third successful penalty for Charlton just before half time kicked by Miller established a half time lead of five points for Charlton.
Havant, following the break, made the better start to the second half and they were only just prevented from scoring a try, following them running back a poor clearance kick, by good defence. This was, however, the precursor to Charlton falling behind as Havant illustrated their attacking prowess. When awarded a penalty close to their twenty-two metre line and with Charlton appearing to assume that a kick would follow the home side ran the ball and interplay and running lines saw their enterprise rewarded when they scored a converted try. A Needless penalty at the restart from Charlton proved costly as they had a man sin-binned and the resulting penalty was kicked to give Havant the lead.
With both sides wishing to secure a win, play was frenetic and both teams had opportunities to increase the lead. It was following a good run from Reion Raybe that established the attacking platform from which Charlton finally scored what proved to be the decisive points. Following the introduction of Eric Roye into the front row Charlton had began to push Havant backwards in the scrum and when they were awarded a penalty close to their opponent’s goal line Charlton opted for this option. With Havant moving backwards Saunderson was at the back of the scrum to touch the ball down for his second try of the afternoon to level the scores. With the resultant conversion being, crucial Miller control his nerves to make the kick to give Charlton the lead again.
The last five minutes of the game saw Charlton giving away two kickable penalties but to their obvious relief the ball drifted wide of the goal posts on both occasions to ensure Charlton won the match and move up three league places.