Saturday December 5 – London & SE Division 2 SE
Horsham 28 – Deal & Betteshanger
Richard Ordidge – Horsham RUFC
There was a wakeup call for Horsham as they were beaten at home by a sharper, hungrier looking Deal & Betteshanger side that now climb above them to third in the table.
Visiting captain and scrum-half Adam Michael must take the plaudits with four well taken tries as Horsham were slow to react to quickly taken tap penalties several times.
Horsham head coach Nick Stocker was disappointed saying; “Our defence around the rucks and fielding kick offs was disappointing. We had a lack of focus and concentration at key moments and we were not clinical in attack and defence. They played a simple game and they did it effectively.”
Horsham started the more quickly of the two sides and when Deal & Betteshanger were penalised for not rolling away at the breakdown, Joe Wilde slotted the penalty.
From a penalty Deal & Betteshanger kicked for a line out 20 yards out and visiting captain Michael ran though some weak tackling by Horsham’s half backs to score his first try. Following a Deal yellow card the Green and Whites kicked for the corner and the ball was moved wide to Gray who with a direct run scored under the posts. Following the conversion from Wilde, Horsham lead 10-7 after ten minutes.
Horsham defended resolutely through several phases until they were penalised for offside and Michael took a quick tap five yards from the line to score unopposed as Horsham retreated. Horsham responded immediately when the visitors were penalised for coming in at the side and Wilde kicked the three points as Horsham retook a 13-12 lead after 25 minutes.
Then when Horsham were penalised for feeding at the scrum they took a quick tap and from the next breakdown Michael completed a first half hat-trick of tries to leave Horsham 17-13 down at the break.
Jonny Whiting made a powerful break at the start of the second half which was finished off by Gray who bumped off a couple of attempted tackles to score his second try to regain an 18-17 lead. Deal & Betteshanger responded immediately when their number 8 picked up from the back of the scrum to run blind and feed Michael to round the tackle and run in his fourth try with devastating simplicity. Although the conversion was missed, Horsham were never to regain the lead, and Deal & Betteshanger were 22-18 in front.
Wilde narrowed the gap with a penalty but then visiting winger Luke Armstrong scored a superb individual try and put his side more than a score ahead at 29-21 with the try converted. As Horsham’s attacks became increasingly frantic Johnson delayed his pass to send Gray over for his hat-trick.
The try was converted by Wilde to narrow the deficit to 29-28 with two minutes remaining. However Horsham’s defensive frailties were again exposed when from the restart fly-half Connor Moss kicked long but Horsham full back Mike Watts was indecisive and Deal & Betteshanger were the first to follow up and dive on the ball to score. In the end the scoreline flattered Horsham as the visitors only managed to convert two of their six tries.
Horsham’s next fixture is away to Beckenham tomorrow, December 12.
Horsham Team: Watts; Shepherd (Bell 65), Ordidge, Gray, Wilde; J Johnson, Mills; Barber, Grantham-Hill (Stone 70), Talbot; R Tredgett, Whiting; Gaynor, Thompson, M Tredgett (Price 15)