RUGBY: Horsham back to the top

Saturday October 18 – London 3 South East

Horsham 36 – 10 Lewes

Free scoring Horsham returned to the top of the table on point’s difference from Bromley despite having lost a game more following this victory over Lewes.

The Green and Whites have now scored 33 tries in five games but this needs to be measured against the fact that all Horsham’s wins have come against sides in the bottom half of the table. Expectations for the season can be better gauged after a difficult sequence of games have been completed against the top sides over the next few weeks.

Horsham started in lively fashion and opened the scoring in the fourth minute after a couple of phases Jamie Gibbs ran a good line to cut through and open the scoring with the try converted by Will Bell. Shortly afterwards turnover ball resulted in the ball being spun wide to the left for Sean Tuhakaraina to score in the corner. Jonny Whiting caught the kick-off and made a powerful run and then Gibbs made an incisive break. Pressure from multi-phase play lead to the ball again being spun left, this time for hooker Matt Stone to score. The try was converted by Will Bell and after 14 minutes Horsham were leading 19-0.

Lewes pegged Horsham back with a penalty goal but Horsham’s attacking play was relentless and on the stoke of half time after good handling Will Bell chipped through and followed up to be first to ground the ball to take a 24-3 lead into the break.

Horsham started the second half quickly and following a fine handling move with quick recycling at the breakdown, Nick Bell sent Tom Johnson bursting through to score.

Credit to Lewes for not giving up when many other sides would have folded, and after a long period of Horsham pressure the ball was spilled as Horsham attacked the try line and the Lewes fly half made a long fly hack upfield and after a catalogue of defensive errors the visitors scored in a classic counter attack. Whiting made a great break but the ball was dislodged in the tackle as he attempted to score, then Horsham finally added some gloss to their win when in the final minute Tuhakaraina powered through several defenders to score a solo try.

Horsham coach Nick Stocker said: “I was pleased with our four try bonus point victory. Some of the patterns and structure we achieved in the first half were straight off the training ground. Lewes are clearly a side in transition. As their young players gain experience they will be a different prospect in the second half of the season and at times they put us under a lot of the pressure.”

Horsham’s next league game is away to Heathfield & Waldron on October 25.

Horsham: Talbot (capt), Stone, Barber (Fairs 55); Goward (Green 40), Jonny Whiting; Thompson, N Bell, M Tredgett; Rush, Johnson; Gibbs, Tuhakaraina, Ordidge, W Bell; James Whiting

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