1st XV - Report
Horsham put to the sword
Horsham were put to the sword away to Maidstone who have now been crowned as league champions with four games still left to play, and it would not be a surprise on this form if Maidstone achieved back to back promotions next season.
“We were clearly beaten by the better side. I want to congratulate Maidstone who are worthy champions of our league and it is important to be magnanimous both in victory and defeat. They played a great game, took their opportunities well and converted the chances they created. I am pleased that we were competitive throughout with our scrum and our line-out good. We got a good stream of possession, and on occasions put good phases together, particularly in the second half. We cannot however complain about the result. They were bigger, stronger and more dynamic than us. Once they got through the half-tackles to off-load they were very difficult to stop. They sucked in our defenders and still created quick ball, and as a result of their strength and power we had a habit of falling off and missing one on one tackles. Maidstone are an exceptionally well-drilled team and clearly brought their A game. They didn’t slacken, even when the game was won. We did not have the physicality of their ball carrying forwards. I thought Tyler Aitken had an excellent game in attack and Matt Brown made some good half-breaks and defended well. Alex Brew had a fine debut at scrum-half and Nick Bell tackled tirelessly. Maidstone have set the benchmark and we need to aspire to that level next season and that means greater commitment to training.”
Horsham’s defence held out for the first 11 minutes until Jason Smith evaded Sam Bell’s attempted tackle to go over in the right hand corner. Bell made amends to stop a certain try only minutes later before Maidstone stretched the Green and Whites defence for outside-centre Mark Dorman to go over for the first of his four tries.
Horsham narrowed the deficit when Tyler Aitken won the race to touch down following a hack through after a high tackle on skipper Matt Brown, and Will Bell slotted a difficult conversion.
Maidstone then demonstrated the ruthless power, pace and finishing of a top side with further tries from Willie Brown 4, Ben Williams 2, James Davies, Lee Evans and Josh Pankhurst.
Horsham battled gamely until the end when in the 80th minute quick ball was generated and spun left for Jonny Ordidge to score a consolation try in the corner.