Sport

Horsham romp through to this Saturday’s big play off

Saturday April 6 – London 2 South East
Horsham 76 12 Maidstone
Rugby
Martin Read – Sports Reporter
Coming in to last Saturday’s game Horsham had won their previous nine
league fixtures – mostly by handsome margins – and they beat Maidstone
23-50 in Kent on the first week of the season, but any fear of complacency
and trace of nerves on the field and touchline was quickly dispelled when Sam
Hampson powered over in the opening minute, Tom Johnson’s kick providing
a seven point advantage almost before the visitors realised that the game had
started. The magnificent artificial pitch at Coolhurst really suits Horsham’s fast
open runners and Aaron Linfield soon burst through, and, by the quarter of an
hour mark, Declan Nwachukwu had emulated his team mates and Horsham
were well on their way. Jonny Whiting then added a try from close quarters,
followed by Giles Barber and Nwachukwu – who ran half the field without
anyone in the opposition managing to lay a finger on him, Johnson’s boot
giving Horsham an unchallenged 38 point lead at the break.
Restarting, unrelenting Horsham continued in the same vein, Mike Watts and
Joe Wilde soon getting over, both boosted by Johnson’s kicking. But, to their
credit, despite being 52 adrift in as many minutes, Maidstone notched up two
tries of their own, one converted. That was, though, the end of their fun,
Watts, Jordan Bell, Hampson and Nwachukwu all subsequently gaining the
line, Johnson converting twice, Horsham compiling their highest score – 76
points – of their high scoring season – 913 points in total with eight 50+ wins
(five in their last seven games). In their pomp Maidstone have been in the
London SE1 League, demolishing Horsham en route to back to back
promotions, but now it is Horsham’s turn to bid for their first opportunity in the
upper echelon.
Horsham were last beaten in the league just before Christmas – by eventual
champions Beckenham, Head Coach Nick Stocker saying: “After that we
understood that we needed to win all of our remaining games if we were to
have a chance at a promotion play off. This included tough away assignments
to Charlton Park, Deal and Old Colfeians as well as tricky encounters at home
against the likes of Haywards Heath. The team have been in scintillating form
– 10 wins on the trot with 9 bonus points, and scoring 66 tries on the way
speaks volumes. It doesn’t however do justice to the effort levels every player
in the squad has put in, on which this run of form has been built. The
consistency in availability and effort has allowed us to field strong teams
despite injuries, eventually bringing us to this position on the final day of the
season. In all aspects today we were in control, ultimately meaning a
comfortable win.” Horsham’s strong team wins sometimes makes picking the
Man of the Match difficult, but Nick Stocker added: “Declan Nwachukwu won
the award with yet another hat trick and 35 tries for the season! An incredible
feat but he will no doubt be hungry for more next week, when we welcome
Farnham for the playoff with entry to London SE1 the prize. Farnham will no

doubt be travelling in force, so we would certainly appreciate even more vocal
support at the climax of our league campaign.” Farnham, with 15 wins from 22
starts – compared with Horsham’s 18 victories – finished second in London
SW2 league after being beaten by third in the table Old Tonbridgeans last
Saturday. The big play off match starts at 3pm.

Photo courtesy of Darryl Sears

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *