Rugby Union, by Josh Tolhurst –
Horsham Rugby Club has a reason to feel very proud with the news that two former junior members have been selected for England U18 Clubs and Schools.
Second row Finlay Hillicks, 18, and hooker Charlie Piper, 17, are part of the squad that will play Ireland U18 Clubs at Coolmine Rugby Club, Dublin, on March 30.
The squad has been chosen from the four divisional teams – London South East, South West, Midlands and the North, which each include players who have impressed at county level. Hillicks and Piper represented Sussex before being picked for London South East.
Following a warm-up game against Bedford, the England squad meet for a training camp from Friday to Sunday as they prepare for the big game in Dublin.
Collyer’s student Hillicks played for Horsham up to the U15 team before leaving to join Brighton. He has been part of Harlequins’ Elite Player Development Group since U16 and also represents Scotland Exiles.
He told The District Post: “It will be an amazing experience to play against Ireland.
“It’s great to finish the season on such a high and great to be selected alongside friends I’ve gone on the journey with. It’s also nice to get a pay-off for all the hard work and training throughout the season.
“I’m very thankful of everyone who has put in time and effort to get me here today.”
Cranleigh School pupil Piper, who played for Horsham all the way to U16, is also part of Quins’ Elite Player Development Group and has represented England at U16 level.
It is a huge achievement and a big challenge for both players. The match could lead on to even better things if they perform to the standard they are capable of.
Horsham and Uckfield played out an 11-11 stalemate in a game littered by penalties and scrums.
Uckfield were the first team to score when a brilliant long pass found Lee Evans, who dummied Jamie Gibbs superbly and powered over the line.
Horsham enjoyed a lot of possession throughout the game and scored their first points through a well-taken penalty from Aled Price, but Uckfield responded with a penalty to lead by five points again.
The home side went into the break on level terms, a great run and offload by Price enabling Gibbs to score an unconverted try, and led for the first time when Price kicked another penalty.
But Uckfield equalised with a penalty, defended well to keep out Horsham in the final minutes and almost sneaked a win with another penalty, the final kick of the match.
Horsham will be annoyed that they could not capitalise on their huge possession advantage, which should have been the basis of a comfortable win.
Pulborough lost for the seventh match in succession, 28-8 at Folkestone.
Horsham U14 beat Crawley U14 50-0, with tries by Lewis Wilson (two), Ben Murphy (two), Rasmus Madum (two), James Purbrick and George Carbone. Josh Medley added five fine conversions.