Saturday March 5 – London 2 South East
Crowborough 13 – 10 Horsham
After the previous weekend’s upbeat performance against league and cup double chasing Tunbridge Wells Horsham were expected to make light work of relegation threatened Crowborough. However the East Sussex side battled doggedly on their mud caked pitch to earn a victory over the Green & Whites and to improve their chances of staying in the division.
From the whistle the hosts defended soundly against early Horsham pressure but could not prevent Will Bell scoring in the corner; the try going unconverted. Crowborough made their first advance into the Horsham half in the second quarter and as they grew in confidence. Helped by an extra man following Mike Watts’ yellow card they scored a try through Phil Price, converted for a 7-5 lead, which they took into the half time break.
Crowborough continued the second half on the front foot, and Chris Yates extended the lead with a penalty. Horsham again found themselves a man down following James Johnson’s unnecessary yellow card but managed to draw level at 10 – 10 with Jonny Whiting’s unconverted try. As the game became increasingly niggly Horsham’s Josh Mills and Crowborough’s Liam Derrick were yellow carded and then with 10 minutes remaining the home side kicked the winning points with a Yates penalty. A chance to equalise with a last minute penalty was rejected in favour of a winning try from the scrum, but the play came to nothing and Crowborough held on for the victory.
Horsham head coach Nick Stocker was left frustrated with the performance. He said: “We were well below par. It was as if it was a training game under lights on a Thursday evening. We were going through the motions rather than ramming home our pressure into points.”
Pulborough have conceded the cup quarter-final due on March 12, so Horsham’s next fixture is away to third placed Deal & Betteshanger on March19.
Horsham Team: W Bell; Watts, J Johnson, Ordidge, Wilson, T Johnson, Mills (Walker); Talbot, Stone, Barber (Fairs); Harcus, Whiting; Tredgett (Clarkson), Thompson, Gray.
Dave Smith – Sports Editor