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Wednesday, 01 October 2014

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McAvoy double sees Haven record opening league win

MOST Haven fans would have taken a one point win after the club’s shaky start to the campaign. The fact that the victory was emphatic was a bonus.

Haven scored five tries, two from Scott McAvoy in the last eight minutes, and the 20-point margin was a fair reflection of their superiority.

With McAvoy, Lee Doran and Craig Calvert all returning to action after the previous week’s heavy defeat at Doncaster, Haven had a more solid look.

Best of all, certainly in the first-half, was Andreas Bauer. Relishing the extra space at full-back and perhaps realising the intense competition for the No 1 shirt, he looked re-energised.

Rochdale looked to have crossed first when centre Daniel Davies plucked Steven Roper’s cross-field kick out of the air, only to be pegged for offside.

Carl Rudd then forced winger Dale Bloomfield in to an error in returning the stand-off’s kick, and Doran was held-up over the Hornets’ line.

Organiser Rudd was at the heart of everything for Haven, and his grubber on 20 minutes ricocheted in Rochdale’s in-goal, Bauer getting his hand to the loose ball and Rudd converting.

Haven were made to pay for coughing up possession on first tackle in midfield, nine minutes later, Dave Newton taking a flat pass to score, Chris Baines’ kick levelling.

The try did not deter Haven, who could have regained the lead after a flowing move in which Bauer handled twice.

It floundered with Stephen Fox – who had another solid game in the centres – unable to take a crash ball as he headed towards the line.

It took a moment of class to break the deadlock, and it came from Doran.

His flat, cut-out pass put Calvert in at the corner and Rudd added the extras to put his team 12-6 up at the break.

Chris Smith spilled the hanging, second-half re-start which led to a stint of heavy pressure, back-to-back drop-outs following before Bauer was sin-binned for dissent.

The tide turned on 52 minutes when Ben Karalius was hit high in the tackle. Rudd’s 32-metre penalty attempt drifted wide, but Haven regained possession and when the Hornets were penalised for ball-stealing on the next set, Rudd hit home from 40 metres.

Two scores behind, it was turning in to a nightmare for the visitors, who were then penalised for offside at the re-start, Rudd forcing a repeat set.

Rochdale eventually regained possession but then lost it again in midfield, and to make matters worse were penalised for dissent.

Sub Danny Barker was dumped in a dangerous tackle seconds later, leading to yet another penalty, and after the ball was moved through hands, McAvoy squeezing out a pass for Calvert to inch at the corner.

Doran’s sparkling 50 metre break deserved a try, but the move floundered five metres out. And instead it was Rochdale next on the scoreboard.

They broke from deep, and despite a great effort from Chris Smith, Dale Bloomfield went over in the corner.

Hornets’ hooker Steve McDermott was stepping up to the plate, and he sparked another great set, which ended a couple of metres from Haven’s line.

The momentum switched again when full-back Paul O’Connor dropped a simple pass in midfield, and Haven took advantage.

Isakka popped a pass over the top for McAvoy to score his first out wide on 72 minutes.

Rudd converted then put the big centre in for another four minutes later, rounding off an encouraging afternoon for Haven with his fifth goal.

Match facts

Haven: Bauer, Calvert, Fox, McAvoy, Wiper, Rudd, Karalius, Houghton, Sice, Hill, Isakka, Doran, Beattie. Subs: Smith, Varkulis, Barker, Cullnean.

Tries: Calvert 2, Bauer, McAvoy 2.

Goals: Rudd 5.

Rochdale: O’Connor, Bloomfield, Davies, Bannister, English, Crook, Roper, Hobson, McDermott, Cookson, Middlehurst, Baines, Donoghue. Subs: Wood, Bowman, Lucas, Newton.

Tries: Newton, Bloomfield.

Goals: Baines 1.

Referee: Dave Merrick.

Attendance: 714.

Star Man: Andreas Bauer.

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