According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a Bog is defined as ‘an area of wet muddy ground that is too soft to support a heavy body’. Yesterday, with the Horsham Barbarians visiting the home of the Sussex All Blacks, there were plenty of heavy bodies to confirm this is an accurate description.
There were mixed emotions about the playing conditions, obvious glee from the forwards at the prospect of 80 minutes rolling around in thick mud and murmurings of disappointment from the backs that their pristine green and whites may get a little dirty…and so it proved.
From kick-off the ball was taken by Tony Parsons, who made a barn-storming run setting the tone for the day. From that point, it was clear the Barbarians had turned up to play and solid break down work and intelligent running from the backs led to the first score. Despite heavy conditions under foot and the real possibility of being drowned in the mud at every breakdown, the Barbarians started to play with smiles on their faces as a fluidity was established between forwards and backs.
At the first scrum the referee managed to find an isolated spot on the field acceptable for scrummaging and the forwards laid down a marker with a dominant push that led to a score. This dominance also led to Burgess Hill opting for uncontested scrums from that point on.
The first half was a fine all round performance with every Barbarian getting ball in hand, running direct with some great off loading when hauled down. The backs were defying the ground conditions with a dynamic combination of Fish, Doug and Bryn linking with Guy, Richard, Marshy and Otto Carlisle. Otto in particular found space regularly and seemingly with rocket fuel in his boots, scored two tries with great acceleration and determination.
As the first half drew to a close the forwards kept up the momentum with Red, Fubar, Elliott Martin and Mark Ross providing great support at the breakdown allowing Doug to recycle quickly to Mike Drew who shipped the ball onto the sizeable frame of Lee McGuire, who from 10 metres out recorded his first try as a Horsham Barbarian.
In the second half, Burgess Hill came back into the game and registered their first score with some strong running of their own. This spurred the Barbarians back into life and with youth on the field, the likes of Ben Carbone, Ed Cresswell and Elliott Martin all enjoying fine games, demonstrated that when the Baa Baa's combine young legs and old(er) heads, we can compete with anyone in the league.
In the final 10 minutes Burgess Hill scored their second try with their number 8 bulldozing through some lapse defence for a well deserved score. However the Barbarians, not wanting the final score to be the oppositions, played hard from the ensuing kick off and following some mongrel work from Red, Adie Parson and Tony Lewis, Tony Parsons bundled over to register the final score of the game.
Man of the Match was a tough call with every Baa Baa holding their hand up. Many got scores including Guy, Otto, Rossy, Lee, Tony Parsons, Ben, Ed and Doug. However the MOM went to Lee for great running, tackling and his first try for the Green & Whites.
It just leaves me to say well done to all Baa Baas for an excellent 2015. Merry Christmas to you all and look forward to 2016 and securing a top 4 position.