Not sure if it’s a record for Horsham Rugby but today three pairs of dads and sons took to the field for Horsham Barbarians and whilst it wasn’t capped with a win the game was a contest worthy to mark the event.
With the last two matches between the teams being fairly one sided, Horsham had expectations of another reasonably comfortable win. It was soon apparent Crawley were a lot more up for the game this time with intriguing contests all over the pitch.
In the early part of the game Horsham slowly moved up field and were playing in the Crawley half but tenacity at the breakdown and a resolute defence saw Horsham continue to spur possession in the danger area. Horsham finally decided to take points from the visit which Ellis Parsons coolly slotted. Soon after the restart Crawley showed how dangerous they could be with the ball when from and almost invisible blindside the scrum-half made a break. Horsham were slow to react and although Sharkey made a good coving tackle no Horsham player had followed the supporting runner and he took the pass to score under the posts. Game on.
Horsham again took the game to their hosts but couldn’t pull the needed phases together to breach the defence. Horsham did get the try they were battling for when following a penalty Mike Drew focused the defence allowing Rob Clegg to snipe over from short range. A short range driving maul near the line almost gave the visitors another try but was held up as it collapsed over the line. This seemed to take a bit of wind out of Horsham sails and Crawley were then on the front foot and they could have taken the lead following some nice passages of play before the winger beat the covering fallback. However, Rob Clegg had managed to cover across the pitch and made the important tackle.
The second half continued Crawley late half surge and were banging on the door. Another try looked a certainty as Crawley found their powerful looking flanker with the line at his mercy. Fortunately for Horsham Rich Henderson was making his return and stopped the guy in his tracks with a determined Ed Creswell lending a hand. A powerful counter ruck following the tackle looked like Horsham had made a brilliant turnover but the entertaining referee awarded a penalty to Crawley. They identified Horsham hadn’t realigned and a nice bit of passing allowed them to find space on the other side of the pitch to put them back in front.
The rest of the match saw a Crawley defence resolute and even when reduced to 14 men following consistent infringement for the flanker not binding Horsham couldn’t find their way through. Horsham were certainly making the effort, a powerful scrum saw them surge towards the line but this time Rob Clegg totally fluffed his lines and knocked on with the line begging, sorry front five I owe you a jug for that one!
Just when it looked like Crawley were going to take the local derby bragging rights the referee awarded a penalty to Horsham. The kick wasn’t easy and despite missing a chance in a similar location Ryan Maguire the 17 year old second row stepped up and coolly earned the visitors the draw. Well done lad!
Thanks Birchy for your support and pictures today and super work by Max Elliot and Ryan Maguire on their senior debuts. They weren't just there for the show and along with our now veteran father son team of Ade P and Ellis made telling contributions in attack and defence. It was clear from your Dads faces how proud of your efforts they were, hopefully we’ll see you back with us again soon.
Next week is Worthing Senior 2’s in the semi-final of the Sussex Vase at Horsham.