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REPORT - Basingstoke RFC 13 Havant 11
BASINGSTOKE RFC won a thrilling Hampshire Cup final in extra time as they beat local rivals Havant 13-11 on Saturday at Down Grange.
The sides were locked at 6-6 after 80 minutes of hard fought rugby and so the cup destination was decided by 20 minutes of extra time.
With the tension growing by the minute, Havant had the first chance to take the lead, but Joel Knight’s penalty from 25 metres out went wide of the posts.
However, it was the visitors who took the lead, as Jay Wilkins is able to break and tackle and sprint down the left wing to score.
Knight was unable to add the conversion from wide on the touchline which left ’Stoke trailing by five points with 14 minutes to play.
As the first period of extra time came to close, Andy Hore charged down a kick from Grant Morris, but the home side are unable to ground the ball for a try.
The second period of extra time gave ’Stoke the wind advantage and they pushed for a winning score as both sets of fans got behind their teams.
After good pressure a penalty allowed Ryan Trevaskis to kick to the corner and from the line-out caught by Hore, the home side drive over the line for a Chris Kiernan try.
This makes the scores level and now all the pressure is on Trevaskis to kick over the conversion.
As a hush fell on Down Grange, it soon became a roar as the ball heads through the centre of the posts.
The home side now lead 13-11 with four minutes left and made sure their rivals were unable to get any good field position as they run the clock out to take a well deserved victory.
Earlier in the contest, which in the first half started in bright sunshine and ended in driving rain, Havant took the lead after just three minutes, as Joel Knight was able to convert an easy penalty.
’Stoke replied with a much more ambitious penalty from Trevaskis wide on the right touchline from 35 metres out.
The visitors added another penalty on their next attack, which Knight made no mistake with.
The home side once again replied, as Trevaskis out on the left hand touchline levels the score at 6-6.
Some good pressure from Basingstoke followed, but Havant had a quick breakout and Gavin Dampies makes a try stopping tackle to deny Sam Berridge.
The game then became a scrappy affair due to the weather conditions and ’Stoke are given a penalty on 31 minutes, wide out on the right from 30 metres and Trevaskis’ effort hits the post.
The rain stops for the start of the second half in which Havant had the wind advantage, but all the pressure came from the home side.
Unfortunately, handling errors at wrong times cost them dear and they fail to convert any their possession into points.
The visitors rarely made it out of their own half, but defended to a man to keep ‘Stoke out.
The last chance of the tie in normal time, saw Knight attempt a penalty kick from the half-way line with five minutes remaining, but it fell just short.
So the destination of the cup was decided by extra time, with Basingstoke finally coming out on top right at the end of thrilling encounter.
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