INTERMEDIATE CUP THIRD ROUND
Match Report by Nathan Jervis
The day began with bacon baps and coffee at Horsham RUFC HQ. A brisk breeze accompanied clear skies and low temperatures. Tim Smith was not in attendance and as a result a peaceful quiet hung over the club. The intention was to travel to Old Colfeians and progress to the next stage of the cup. That was what Horsham first XV intended to do.
The team arrived at their destination in Barry’s budget bus, and the travelling spectators were greeted by an excellent spread consisting of goujons, onion bhaji, and stew. Once this multi-cultural lunch had been sufficiently dealt with the spectators made their way to Old Colfe’s stoop to see the two teams file out on to the field of play.
Ale in one hand and pencil in the other, this reporter settled in to his seat and prepared for some class spectating. The first 15 minutes were a dead heat. Both teams were attacking and defending in equal measure probing each’s strengths and weaknesses. If this were boxing, both fighters would be moving cautiously and measuring distance, building confidence until an opportunity to cause damage presented itself. If it were cricket, both sides would be standing around in crisp whites watching the bowler place the ball at slightly different points around the wicket. An equivalent comparison can’t be drawn with tennis. It was Old Colfe’s that were first to break the stalemate after Horsham conceded a penalty. 0-3 to the home side, 15 minutes gone.
This gave Horsham the impetus needed to increase their intensity. Josh Steggles counters well from an Old Colfe’s clearance kick and spins wide to Jamie Redmayne who carries well and gains valuable yardage. Jack Osgood then finds himself with ball in hand 20 metres from the try line. Luckily, Jack Osgood eats 20-metres-from-the-try-line for breakfast. Horsham see points on the board with 20 minutes on the clock. With Tom Johnson out, due to illness, Joe Wilde assumed kicking duties and starts well. 7-3.
Horsham move well from the reset and Mathieu Pecharman nearly sees the ball over the try line but unfortunately spills due to a well-timed tackle. Horsham display confidence in multiple attacking phases which are all dealt with effectively by Old Colfeians. Both sides demonstrate high level nudges and are able to find touch deep in each other’s half. However, the game inevitably settles in the middle of the pitch with both teams asking answerable questions of each other. Eventually however, the levee breaks and Old Colfeians are able to answer resoundingly in the form of a try following two penalties given away by Horsham. The extras are added to see the home side edge ahead again to 7-10 at the death of the half. Not an ideal ending to a hard fought first 40 minutes.
In a side of young bucks, an old stag was next to make an impact on this tense game of what they call Rugby. Efficient team play from the reset sees the ball consistently recycled across the gain line resulting in too many questions being asked by Horsham’s forwards which Old Colfeians were unable to answer. Eventually, the ball finds its way to Jonathan Ordidge, that old stag, who dummies and dart’s past the tackler to score. Joe Wilde converts well, it is comforting to note that Horsham have a more than capable stand in at number 10 – particularly considering this stand-in’s sticky fingers. Horsham have their turn in the limelight now and edge ahead to 14-10.
After his try from well over 50 yards out last week, Dan Cass was intent on making another significant impression on the game on Saturday. As is his nature, this impression is usually left in the opposing forward’s mid-rift and goes a purpley-yellow colour the next day. It was on of these crunching statements that saw the ball knocked-on and quickly gathered by Aaron Linfield who breaks well and puts Mathieu Pecharman in to score in the corner. Wilde again kicks to increase Horsham’s lead to 21-10.
Old Colfeian’s at this point decided to change gear. There is no easy way of saying this, so this reporter feels he must just come out and say it. Horsham concede 4 tries over the next 25 minutes. This reporter will concede however, that the feeling at the time was not one of dominance by Old Colfeians, but of missed chances by Horsham. If they had retained the ruthless efficiency of last week’s performance this reporter is confident that what happened over the next 25 minutes would not have gone down the same way. However, “If ifs and buts were sweets and nuts we’d all have diabetes” (or words to that effect), Horsham still conceded four unanswered tries. By the fourth the game was all but killed. However, with 5 minutes left on the clock Declan Nwachukwu felt compelled to add his name to the scoresheet with a typically powerful try run in from out wide. Joe Wilde converts to set the final score at 28-38.
Tentatively, this reporter went in search of a) further refreshment, and b) a likely somewhat cross head coach Nick Stocker. This week he had come prepared with a remastered blue-ray DVD of You’ve Got Mail to distract head coach Nick Stocker should the situation get tasty. There would be no need for placation however; head coach Nick Stocker was found with a glue gun re-sealing the plastic wrap of a pile of old copies of American Pie: The Reunion on DVD. This reporter tucked his copy of You’ve Got Mail in to his jacket to be used at another time.
“Some words for the report head coach Nick Stocker?”
Head coach Nick Stocker paused and carefully set down the hot glue gun, removed his heat visor, cleared his throat, and began:
“A disappointing result. A 20-minute period in the second half saw us standoff tackles allowing their big runners to get into the game to concede scores. This gave them confidence and got their tails up and ultimately proved the difference.
We left at least 4 great opportunities out there and were not clinical enough seeing dropped passes, failures to take the 2v1 or a failure of set piece execution at vital stages. Whereas last weekend in the league we executed, today we didn’t. The game should have been put to bed by half time and our young side will learn the importance of consistency in performances at this level.
Good luck to Old Colfeians in the next round. They will certainly have a real opportunity to go on and win this cup. We will see them again later in the season where final league aspirations are sure to be decided. Next week we welcome Heathfield & Waldron at home with a determination to cement second place in the league.”