There's only one word for that, Magic Rugby.....
By Richard Ordidge
Sensational Horsham score ten tries
Match Report by Nathan Jervis
The afternoon was unnervingly balmy, for mid-October, as two teams of 15 faced off in a pleasant corner of East Sussex. Horsham in their signature speckled green and white, Heathfield & Waldron in solid green. Due to excessive refreshment the previous evening this reporter was sticking to bottled water, as a result this might be the most well covered game Horsham have played in this reporter's short, but lively, career. Travelling solo - Tim Smith was entertaining the under 16 girls in London for some reason - meant that there would be no distractions for what would turn out to be an excellent display of "discipline, set piece execution and quality attacking structure" in the words of head coach, Nick Stocker.
The opening minutes of the game were comprised of both teams probing each other's defences. Four minutes would be all that was required for Horsham to chalk up points on the board in the form of a penalty kick by Tom Johnson off the back of good carries by Michael Tredgett and Nick Bell. Good patience in attack after the kick off would be rewarded with a try as Joe Wilde and Tom Johnson collaborate sensationally to put the ball over the line. However, confusion ensued. "Back ten ref!" Nick Stocker cried, "you didn't play the advantage!" he exclaimed. Before the ref was admonished any further by Horsham's coach for awarding Horsham a try, Nick Bell helpfully pointed out that the decision had, in fact, gone in Horsham's favour. "Should've gone to specsavers" Barry Wright helpfully, and astutely, pointed out to Nick Stocker, who had by this point turned on the Horsham supporters for barely suppressing their laughter.
The game continued, after the coaching staff had settled down, to see a try stolen off a poor Heathfield kick by the young Aaron Linfield, unconverted. A solid line out performance would be displayed throughout, and after one of Horsham's came off successfully 18 minutes in, Tom Johnson and Joe Wilde would again collaborate sensationally for Tom Johnson to score. In a rare display of erratic kicking Tom Johnson was again unable to convert. This display would culminate in perhaps the laziest example of a "drop conversion" (I am still unsure of the technical term for this) which went wide from 15 yards in front of the posts, albeit at the game's death. This reporter caught up with Tom Johnson after the game, but he couldn't be bothered to comment.
The day would see a hat-trick from the young and sensationally quick Declan Nwachukwu. The first would come 28 minutes in seeing Dec find space, and proceed to fill it immediately, to dart past Heathfield's defence and find the try line. The day would also see some Champagne scrummaging, combing brute force and technical prowess. This would first be demonstrated at the 37 minute mark to see the ball spun wide to Joe Wilde to finish. Tom Johnson finally manages to convert to see Horsham go into half time 32 points up with no reply from Heathfield.
A fine first half.
Tom Blewitt would be the next name on the score sheet after a display of strong, consistent, multi-phase play, to be successfully converted by Tom Johnson. Michael Tredgett would be next to capitalise on confident Horsham scrummaging, driving over the line with trademark physicality. Nick Stocker would later describe Michael Tredgett's recent run of form as "irresistible", although this reporter will decline to comment on the possible motive behind this flowery use of language. Aaron Linfield would again appear on the score sheet after 65 minutes following multiple phases of well-retained possession. Tom Johnson was also able to then muster the energy to convert.
Heathfield's heads did not drop however! To their credit, every re-start was accompanied with a "go-again" attitude which made for a feeling of being a closer game than the scoreline would imply. This attitude culminated in a well-deserved try in the corner to well-humoured cries of "please let us have one!" by the Heathfield supporters. The try was un-converted, however still points gained for the home side in the midst of a dominant Horsham performance. A sensational try in the last minute by Declan after a 40 yard run which saw multiple Heathfield players unsure of who, or what, exactly had just run past them would set the final score at Horsham 63 - Heathfield and Waldron 5. This reporter would also like to note that Jordan Smith had an excellent game and thoroughly deserves his spot in the team.
Nick Stoker offered some thoughts after the game, once this reporter was able to interrupt him talking about the benefits of a DVD player for the clubhouse to a Heathfield spectator:
"Our front row performance was great, and the replacements that came on all maintained the quality of possession for our backs to use. With centres Tom Johnson and Joe Wilde causing havoc and Johnny Ordidge and Declan Nwachukwu stretching the defence at every opportunity, along with Chris Double offering great control at 15, we looked dangerous throughout. Particular comments should go to Tom Blewitt at 10 who controlled the game admirably and with his younger half back partner Aaron Linfield, asked questions all afternoon. In a tough call, Aaron was awarded man of the man for his live wire performance on the back of a great platform set by the forwards. Today he was truly excellent scoring two well taken tries."
This reporter would also like to offer some thoughts noted down during the game:
Dan Cass was able to imitate a much larger, much more immobile object in defence than his age and demeanour would suggest.
Bot lost his boot, for one heart stopping moment.
Jordan performance, understated, apparently good.
Tom Blewitt told not to kick, firmly, by Richard Tredgett
Tom Johnson's lazy conversion attempt, wide.
All in all, this reporter feels comfortable in saying that what he saw was, by all accounts, and in no uncertain terms, in every sense of the phrase and beyond all reasonable doubt, a game of rugby.