You’ll have to excuse the lack of detail or flow to the report as memories are a little fussy on this one, whether this is due to being heavily involved in running m/j’s festival yesterday or the amount of defensive work we had to do as a team I’m not sure but these are my recollections. Chichester looked dangerous via their backs from the outset, Horsham lacked a specialist 9 and the two backs they did have playing in their preferred spots were soon down to one as poor Sam Lunn 15 had to leave the game due to a recurrence of an ankle injury within minutes of the start. So it was not a big surprise that it was though their backs that Chichester took the lead. A strong pick and go by the useful Chi 8 drew the inside backs creating the space for the 12 to break through and score. Horsham did react and started tackling better with Horsham controlling the scrum and edging a bitty lineout. Going down the hill I recall them having the best of the half and leading 10 – 8 at the break with a determined powerful drive following some picks and go’s by Ed Cresswell. I also recall a penalty effort by Chichester. Please let me know if you scored for Horsham in the first half!
The usual team talk at half time seemed to have a stupefying effect on Horsham as the Chi 7 collected the kick, ran through everyone and scored. Horsham retaliated again through Ed Cresswell following a quick penalty with an off-load finding Ed with lots of work left to do. Chi retaliated via a short range 8 pick and drive before with the line at his mercy the speedy winger lost control of his feet and tackled himself. Horsham hit back following a decision not to go for the posts with the pick and go proving effective again with Rob Clegg being the beneficiary this time. Chichester No 8 picked up another from the base of the scrum. Chichester were then awarded a controversial penalty when a lone ball carrier was tackled and with no support around him, holding onto the ball on the floor was generously awarded a penalty as the Horsham defence tried to legally wrestle the ball from his desperate grasp as he lay prostate, isolated and lonely on the ground. (that’s how I remember it anyway). The final whistle went 20-23 points scored during the game and seemingly a Chichester win, however Chichester unable to field a front row does incur a 10 pt penalty and gave the result to Horsham 30-23.
Chichester 4’s are on the ropes, 25 penalty points and only a handful of games remaining they’re firmly rooted to the bottom of the league with 2pts and without adding it up, already relegated save a Sussex RFU reshuffle. On reflection of the game yesterday I think they’ll wonder why, with one of the best backlines we’ve faced this season and a number of big hitting aggressive forwards that they aren’t sitting comfortably in the league right now. I did have a conversation with their Captain and Coach yesterday about the possibility of not enforcing the 10 pt penalty. However having been in a similar position last Christmas the guys felt it would lessen the efforts we made as a team to turn our own fortunes around and neither would it be fair to the other teams down the bottom who would expect us to follow the rules. I don’t know why they were able to get a team out to play this week, perhaps one of their higher teams didn’t have a game or they heard it was sunny in Horsham but the effort to travel to us was appreciated and it was an even game that we all enjoyed.
From a Horsham perspective, well done and thanks to both Colin Marklew and Arizona Dan who both helped out Chichester for a half. Will Thomas for standing in a doing a grand job at 9 and Ollie Barker, Bevan Collins and Matt Brock for digging the boots out. Only 9 more matches before you get the prized 10 Barbarians Polo shirts!
Also I don’t want to ‘play down’ the big efforts that were put in by the rest but I won’t name you all. I appreciate your humility in just being happy to dig it out in the 3’s whatever is in front on us. Let’s build on this and see out the season unbeaten.
Motm - Ed Cresswell – two determined drives to the line and his 10th Barbarians game!
Dotd - Rob ‘It was on the line’ Clegg