Horsham defence shines despite difficult conditions
Horsham coach Richard Bell heralded their defensive display as they won their Sussex derby against Heathfield & Waldron to consolidate sixth place in London 2 South East.
The Green and Whites went behind from an early penalty Heathfield & Waldron penalty, but they were the only points of the entire afternoon for the visitors.
Winger George Palmer scored the first try after 24 minutes following excellent handling along the backline in difficult, wet conditions, having rounded his man to run in from 25 yards, which was converted by Tom Johnson.
Johnson then added a penalty on 30 minutes and Horsham went into half-time with a 10-3 lead.
On 65 minutes, again following good handling, opposite winger Jordan Bell squeezed into the corner and touched down, with Johnson again converting from the touchline.
Heathfield & Waldron incurred a red card in the final minutes as Horsham secured a valuable 17-3 win.
Bell was pleased with his side's defensive display, limiting the opposition to scoring through a single penalty.
He said: "It was probably our best defensive display all season. We've worked a lot in training about defence and organisation and making tackles, and we didn't give Heathfield a sniff on Saturday.
Every time we got in to an attacking position we seemed to give a penalty away at the break down or for offside.
It kept them in the game, but they never looked like scoring. We were defensively very sound."
The performance of his side was also pleasing for Bell, as the game was played in less than ideal conditions for rugby.
He added: "The pitch was great and the weather was great, and then the ref blew the first whistle and it chucked it down.
It did effect a few little knock-ons, but we scored two great tries. They were both scored out wide through fantastic handling, so the skills are there to produce it time after time.
A 17 year old scored on one wing, and an 18 year old scored on the other. Of the 18 players we had, 17 have come through the juniors, so it shows a lot about what we are trying to do as a club."
The result leaves Horsham in sixth place with five wins and four defeats to their name.
In what is seen as a transitional campaign, Bell is hoping that not only his side consolidate, but finish strongly this season.
He added: "If we can finish in the top half of the table, I think it will be a success. You're always positive as a coach, and we've got a tough game on Saturday against Old Colfeians who are second, but we've beaten them in the past. If we're at between 37 and 40 points at Christmas, we'll be confident we can finish the season strongly."
Horsham: N.Bell, Fisher, Barber, Goward, Clarkson, Smith, O'Reilly, Carvell; Walker, T.Johnson, J.Bell, W.Johnson, Wilde, Palmer, W.Bell. Replacements: Whiting, Pirt, Gray
Report by Matt Pole - WSCT