A last minute try, scored by Reion Raybe, making a welcome return from injury, ensured that Charlton Park left Havant with a draw and try bonus point from a match that seemed to be at times not winnable and out of their reach.
The match started with Havant setting into place their game plan well, and running the ball from their own half, assisted by an element of wayward kicking from Charlton who were playing on the back foot. Havant opened the scoring when following a lineout and rolling maul close to Charlton’s goal line, they were adjudged to have been held up but from the resultant scrum, a good pick up saw a well-executed handling move spread the ball across the field to out-flank the Charlton defence leading to Havant scoring the first try of the game and Charlton had an element of luck when the resultant conversion hit the cross bar.
Charlton, despite being pinned back into their half by astute Havant tactical kicking and having to defend again a side running the ball from all areas of the pitch, began to settle and their fifteen man handling game allowed them on occasions to break out of their half and mount pressure. It was following good play from a lineout and subsequent drives from Ross McManus and Mark Harlow-Singh that Charlton were awarded a penalty and the result was that Charlton scored their first points with a successful Thor Normann kick and then a few minutes later proceeded to take the lead when from a free kick, quick thinking from scrum half Lee Amzaleg saw him scamper through a back peddling Havant defence to score a try which Normann converted.
A period of ten minutes midway through the match when Charlton, in their efforts to thwart a rampaging Havant side had a man sin-binned, seemed to be a crucial moment as the home side proceeded to utilise the numerical advantage well which lead to them scoring three tries and having a fourth dis-allowed for a double movement, plus one conversion to post a useful lead at half time.
With coach Andy Miller’s half-time talk ringing in their ears and needing a good start to the second half Charlton did so when following winning the ball against the throw at a line out, quick transference of the ball enabled a break from Raybe up field, and good support running from Michael Casizzi saw Amzaleg score his second try of the game and with Normann’s second conversion of the match Charlton were in contention.
Heartened by the good start to the second half, Charlton suddenly begin to play to their full potential and it was good running back of a misdirected Havant clearance kick from midway in the Charlton half that saw Charlton’s backs in full flow and the sweeping move was finished by a driving run from number eight Rob Saunderson, popping up on the left wing, who scored Charlton’s third try to level the scores and Normann’s third conversion to take the lead.
With the match result in doubt and neither team being dominant, it was Havant that struck when following adjudged errors in defence they kicked a further two penalties to open up a lead and their play became more pragmatic with them turning Charlton with clearance kicks. Havant seemed to look to have the game won when from a scrum they scored a snap drop goal meant that Charlton required a converted try to draw the match.
To Charlton’s credit they continued to pressurise Havant and it was following good disruptive play at a scrum that saw Havant scrabbling backwards.The ball was adjudged to be laying in open play and Raybe was in a position to pick it up and his footwork was more than adequate to enable him to break through tackles to score the decisive fourth try and Normann, keeping his nerves under check, kicked his fourth conversion of the game gained the draw to help maintain the improvement on Charlton’s play in the league this season.
On Saturday 11th October at Broadwalk Charlton entertain for the first time Twickenham a side, who like Charlton Park gained promotion to London 1 south last season, the kick-off is at 3.00pm