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Gravesend 32-14 Havant
Gravesend find themselves just a bonus point away from the top of the league after a workmanlike defeat of a well drilled Havant XV, scoring the bonus point four tries in the first forty-minutes.
A game that was preceded by what was an excellent “Captain’s Day” lunch for skipper of 2001/2002, Barry Andrews, started with so much promise but petered out to a second half that didn’t match the excitement of the first forty minutes.
Starting briskly Gs were soon putting pressure on the Havant twenty-two and were rewarded with an early penalty from the boot of scrum-half Miki Zanirato.
Two minutes later and a chase and collect for Tony Nolan saw the speedy utility three-quarter cross for the opening try try of the game.
Zanirato stepped up to add the conversion and with five minutes on the clock Gravesend were 10-0 to the good.
Gs were winning the lions share of possession from all set phases, with both locks, Remus Necula and David Brooks-Smith dominant at the line-outs.
Although expectations were high from the plethora of possession, Gs were not finding the gaps, and at the end of the first quarter were reduced to fourteen players as Zanirato was sin-binned for interfering at the maul.
Despite being a man down, it was Gravesend that were again to score as Chris Meddings confirmed his return with a touch-down.
With Zanirato in the bin it was Matt Bressons who added the conversion to stretch the lead to 17-0.
The numbers of players was levelled as flanker Nick Goodger was shown yellow for collapsing the maul.
Havant’s half-backs were combining well to release their centres away only to see them stopped short of the try line, but it was the evergreen fly-half Grant Morris who eventually fount the room to score by the posts.
The sure footed Joel Knight slotted over from the tee for the extras to narrow the gap to 17-7.
Back to full strength Gs made the most of the last five minutes of the first half as first Bressons, showing the ball before sidestepping the defence to run through then the big lock forward, Remus Necula scored his first try for the club.
Zanirato added one more conversion to bring the scores to 29-7 at the interval.
Great expectations of what was to come from the second half turned to disappointment as neither XV could quite get their acts together going forward.
Havant came back to score a try at the end of the third quarter which Knight duly converted to pull the visitors closer at 29-14.
A lone Zanirato penalty was all that Gravesend had to show from all of the possession they enjoyed in a stop start last quarter, but in addition to this it was number eight Chukwuma Osazuwa that was shown a straight red card for striking an opponent, and with just two minutes left on the watch, Marc Klus was sent to the sin-bin to see out the game.
Good performances from Bressons, Brooks-Smith, Necular and Nolan, with the ever presence of Zanirato and the hard working front row, ensured that the result was never in doubt as Gs maintain the push for the league title.
Team: 1 Charlie Cutting, 2 Marc Klus, 3 Jamie Forsyth, 4 Remus Necla, 5 David Brooks-Smith, 6 Tom Bird, 7 Ziggy Stevens, 8 Chukwuma Osazuwa, 9 Michele Zanirato, 10 Matt Bressons, 11 Will Meddings, 12 Ashley Moorey, 13 Chris Meddings, 14 Tony Nolan, 15 Temi Okenla, 16 Tomas Ford, 17 Tiwa Obisesan, 18 Gary Gray
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