Declan makes his mark on Old Alleynians
Horsham came back with all the spoils after securing a bonus point 36-19 win following their long journey to Dulwich based Old Alleynians.
Horsham came back with all the spoils after securing a bonus point 36-19 win following their long journey to Dulwich based Old Alleynians. This continues the 100% start made by the club’s two senior teams in league and cup competitions this season.
Old Alleynians had made the other sides in the league sit up and take notice with a resounding win away to promotion challengers and Intermediate Cup finalists Charlton Park last weekend and therefore a difficult game was expected.
It has traditionally been an open game and entertaining contest between the two sides and today was no different. Being founded by the alumni of Dulwich College they have a rich tradition of developing and fielding former internationals such as Nick Easter, Andrew Sheridan and David Flatman, and it is always a pleasure to play them.
Horsham made seven changes from last week’s match day squad due to injuries and holidays and were forced to dig deep into their resources.
Both sides started tentatively with Mike Watts exchanging chip kicks with his opposite number over the onrushing defence, before a long clearance by Tom Johnson was hacked on by the sprinting Canice Gonzague but the kick was slightly over-hit and Alleynians were able to touch the ball down and clear the danger.
A good carry by Jonny Whiting lead to an outside break by Joe Wilde who straightened and passed to the supporting Declan Nwachukwu who sped over the line to finish a well worked try which was converted by Johnson, and after three minutes the Green and Whites lead 7-0. Alleynians pegged Horsham back with a penalty through centre Josh Winduss following a boot in a ruck.
Horsham’s scrum was looking strong enabling the supply of quick ball from Josh Mills and on his debut start, Tom Blewitt was making his impact felt in a new look midfield with some clever grubber kicks, intelligent distribution of the ball and strong tackles.
Following several minutes of pressure from Alleynians, the Green and Whites were guilty of playing too much rugby in their own 22, and conceded a penalty at the breakdown which was kicked by Winduss and narrowed the deficit to 7-6.
Horsham responded with some great phases of tight play and offloading until Michael Tredgett passed to Nwachukwu who raced away to score his second try which was converted by Johnson.
Watts was mixing up his running and kicking game, and a long kick over the top caused panic in the home defence with both sides scrambling around to secure possession before it was knocked on by the visitors.
Winduss made a powerful break through the Horsham midfield before Whiting responded in kind. The Sussex side were putting pace and width on the ball at every opportunity and Wilde then made another trademark break from deep in his own half which was carried on by Watts forcing the hosts to concede a penalty which was calmly slotted by Johnson. Winduss added a third penalty for Alleynians just before the break and Horsham went into half time with a 17-9 lead.
Alleynians started the second half strongly forcing the Green and Whites to concede a succession of penalties. Winduss scored his fourth penalty and then minutes later just failed with a long-range kick from the 10 metre line.
This appeared to shake Horsham from any complacency. The Green and Whites secured a penalty which the supporters felt should have been kicked at goal but instead Johnson, captaining the side, took the more enterprising decision to kick for touch and with line-out possession won, Tredgett ran a hard line to score under the posts, which was converted by Johnson.
Mills was immediately put under pressure from the kick-off but made up for it at the ensuing scrum by kicking the ball on before his opposite number could gather. Then from first phase possession Horsham scored their best try of the game. Johnson made a break with Tredgett in support who carried it up the middle, found Whiting who took it on before passing to Nwachukwu who ran in from 40 yards to score to complete his hat-trick. Johnson added the conversion and midway through the second half the Green and Whites lead 31-12.
From the restart the visitors won the scrum against the head, Watts came into the line but this time Gonzague was forced into touch. Horsham then secured the win with their fifth try when Watts made a break from first phase possession through the middle to pass to the supporting Blewitt to score his first try for the club to effectively seal the win.
Horsham’s replacements were making their impact felt with big tackles from Dan Cass and Andy Carvell as Alleynians never let their heads drop. Emmet O’Rahilly was required to show his pace to cover and secure the ball when a kick through from Alleynians looked to be leading to a certain try.
The game was end to end as another great break from Wilde should have led to a further try for Horsham but the support was not clinical and great defence from Alleynians closed out the opportunity. Winger Will Beasley then scored a great consolation try which was converted by Windass.
A delighted Horsham head coach Nick Stocker said: “At times we looked unplayable due to our pace on ball. We were much better defensively and a real threat in attack. If critical we left four tries out there due to not converting the line breaks. There were good performances from Josh Mills, Jonny W, Kyle, Mike Watts, TJ, Tom Blewitt and Bot.
Everyone played well, especially Sam Jenkins but man of the match with three tries was Declan. A five point win, now on to the next challenge.”
Horsham next face Barking, for the first time in their history, at home on 23 September. Barking have had a difficult start to the season following their relegation from London 1 South, where former England legend Jason Leonard started his rugby.
Horsham: Watts; Gonzague, Blewitt, Wilde, Nwachukwu; Johnson T (capt), Mills; Fairs (Cass), Fisher, Bell N; Clarkson, Goward (Carvell); Tredgett M, Jenkins (O'Rahilly), Whiting