Horsham defeated a spirited Deal & Betteshanger side who battled hard to secure a win that would remove the remote spectre of relegation but to no avail. The Green and Whites had control of the game but without being able to pull away on the scoreboard.
Joe Wilde opened the scoring with a penalty and then in the sixth minute after a fine multi-phase attack, Tom Johnson put in a perfectly weighted chip through to the in-goal area and Rob Grant following up won the race to touch down as Horsham raced into an 8-0 lead.
Despite all the pressure being in the opposition half in a rare attack Deal secured a penalty and then scored a well worked try from a driven maul to narrow the deficit to 8-5 before half-time.
There was always the threat that the visitors could score off a breakaway but Wilde slotted two second half penalties to calm the nerves of the home support and close out the victory.
Horsham Head Coach Nick Stocker said:
“A fairly dour game played in poor conditions but a result that helps keep us in 4th with some interesting fixtures still to come.
A good debut from Loose Head Jolyon Nash together with the first full game for Tom Johnson since injury which bodes well for the run in.
Although we didn’t manage to string any fluidity together, we pressured Deal for the majority of the game and but for silly errors would have secured a score line reflective of the possession and territory Horsham enjoyed. The boys worked hard and ultimately came away with the spoils although very clear that work remains to be done.
Whilst it was a team effort, notable contributions from the likes of Rob Grant who took his try well, Jordan Bell who pressured defensively all afternoon and Mike Watts carrying with his usual threat. In the forwards, Jordan Smith, Nick Bell and Johnny Whiting made telling impacts. However, for his first full 80 since injury, the physicality in defence and the clever kicking game, Tom Johnson was awarded Man of the Match.”