Joe goes wilde with Deal & Betteshanger
By Richard Ordidge
Horsham stretch winning run to four.
LONDON 2 SOUTH EAST
Saturday 27th October 2018
Horsham 34-15 Deal & Betteshanger
Report by Richard Ordidge
Horsham climbed to second place with their biggest win over Deal & Betteshanger since their promotion to London 2 South East three years ago. The final score looked unlikely with the scores level 15-15 at half-time just after the Kent side had carved open a flimsy looking Horsham defence, but this tightened up in the second half as the Green and Whites did not concede any further points whilst adding three tries.
A difficult run of games is coming up which will be a measure of whether Horsham deserve or are flattered by their position in the league table.
Deal & Betteshanger showed their intent from the start to stretch the Horsham defence with a dummy kick-off to the backs but this backfired when the ball went straight to Tom Johnson who powered through a couple of tackles, before the Green and Whites moved the ball through several sets of hands. When the ball was turned over Deal & Betteshanger counter attacked and sliced open the Horsham midfield rather too easily for the hosts liking first through their captain and full back Luke Armstrong and then centre Connor Moss before the supporting Eoin McGrath was on hand to score as the Green and Whites ran out of defenders.
Horsham bounced back with an excellent try through Will Johnson who used his strength to ground the ball in the tackle after it had gone through multiple phases with good retention. The extras were added by Tom Johnson. Nick Bell intercepted a loose pass to create the position for a penalty which was slotted by Tom Johnson before Deal & Betteshanger pegged Horsham back with a kick of their own from Moss.
As the Green and Whites attacked again, Kyle Fairs drove over the line and thought he had scored but the ball was adjudged held up. Minutes later Horsham were awarded another 5 metre scrum and Michael Tredgett picked up from Number 8 to crash through a couple of defenders to score.
The half was finished by the try of the game from Deal & Betteshanger when they moved the ball through multiple phases across the width of the field first left then right then left again with great continuity before Armstrong opened up the home defence with a great stepping run to score under the posts which was converted by Moss as the visitors levelled the scores to go into the break 15-15.
The pattern of the game so far had been that of Horsham playing the more structured rugby but struggling to break down a resolute Deal & Betteshanger defence whereas the visitors were looking dangerous every time they had the ball in broken play.
Early in the second half Tom Johnson missed a penalty kick at goal and then his brother Will Johnson was forced to leave the field with a wrist injury as the game was in the balance. Three tries in the final 30 minutes however secured the bonus point victory for Horsham as the visitors dropped their intensity in defence and started to fall off tackles. Declan Nwachukwu almost scored out of nothing as he broke free from a standing start to make a great break but was stopped just short of the line, then Joe Wilde wriggled over the line from the next phase to score with the try converted by Tom Johnson.
Deal & Betteshanger had a couple of attacking line outs which they failed to capitalise on then Chris Double showed quick thinking to open up the visitors defence with a great break but his pass failed to find the supporting Nwachukwu when a try looked likely.
Horsham continued to press and when Tom Johnson showed great ball playing skills to field a poor pass to continue the attack the ball reached Wilde to open his legs to score in the corner for his second try of the game. The Green and Whites rang the changes to bring on their bench as the game entered the final fifteen minutes meanwhile Deal & Betteshanger lost the influential Armstrong with a knee injury.
Deal & Betteshanger lost their open side flanker Joe Michael with a yellow card as they desperately defended their line, and then despite the visitors mounting a great counter attack Horsham responded when Double showed tremendous pace to launch an 80 yard attack from inside his own 22 metre line and then draw the final tackler to make no mistake this time and pass to the supporting Nwachukwu for the simplest of tries.
Horsham coach Richard Bell said: “I’m very pleased with the result. Another bonus point win, four on the trot, so we’re in good form. In the first half we made it difficult for ourselves by missing too many first up tackles. We scored two tries in a tight first half although we never really got out of second gear. In the second half we managed the half really well shutting out Deal and scoring three more tries, the best being an 80 metre team try.
Our discipline has improved significantly over the last few weeks conceding fewer penalties. Our defence has improved and we have only conceded three tries in our last two games whilst scoring fifteen ourselves. We look to improve every week and will be well prepared for Aylesford next week.”
Horsham: Double; Nwachukwu, Wilde, Johnson T(capt), Johnson W (Bell J); Blewitt, Linfield; Bell N (Cass), Powell (Pirt), Fairs; Tredgett R, Osgood, Redmayne, Smith, Tredgett M