Another Saturday, another game for the BaBas. Although the fixture list said it was a home game, Horsham IIIs travelled to East Grinstead as a result of cancelling the opposite fixture earlier in the season. Logistically an easy task, as not many were travelling! Some sterling work in the back ground (thanks Gumbo) had seen Grinstead offer some players to make up the numbers to 14 and the match was on. Unfortunately, none of the loan players were front rows, so scrums would be uncontested, a rare event for the BaBas who normally take the field with at least 4 props.
The pattern of the game was soon established with East Grinstead exploiting the extra man, and utilising a good set of backs to run in a number of early scores. The Grinstead pack were trying to make ground but Horsham were competing well up front and started to gain some purchase. Hard yards were being made by Lee, Popeye and Red when Horsham had the ball, with good support from Simon Parker playing in the unfamiliar position of flanker. Our EG No.9 Lucas was distributing well and Guy and Cormack (EG) were linking up nicely in midfield. Tom was everywhere as always with Damon and Luke putting in the work to try and contain East Grinstead. Paul Birch had been offered the chance to hook but declined, preferring full-back. He soon regretted this decision finding himself one on one, or worse, on numerous occasions and having to rely on a lifetime’s experience to keep the score down.
The BaBas got on to the scoreboard with a superb bit of individual skill. Guy took a break from telling the referee where he was going wrong to chip over the on-rushing defence. The kick saw the ball bounce kindly on one of the few firm patches of turf, and Guy snatched it away from the full-backs fingertips to dot down by the posts. The conversion saw the deficit reduced by 7.
Horsham’s second score came from a penalty kicked to the corner. A front ball to Red saw a few yards gain up the 5m channel, and the pack were there in support. A couple more pick-and-gos saw our EG colleague (sorry, I can’t recall his name) score Horsham a second try.
The second half saw much of the same, but Horsham failed to trouble the scoreboard further. The addition of Junior to the Horsham ranks evened up the numbers for a short while until Simon was yellow carded. (High tackle, despicable play, it’s always the quiet ones!) East Grinstead continued to pile on the scores in an attempt to improve their points difference. The final play of the game saw Horsham applying some pressure and winning a penalty in centre-field, just outside the Grinstead 22. Fish demonstrated that he had read and digested “Robshaw’s Guide to Rugby Captaincy and Tactics” and was keen to take the 3 points on offer, but common sense prevailed.
Despite the score line, an enjoyable game of rugby. Many thanks to East Grinstead, firstly for the loan of players and secondly the spirit in which they played, without show-boating or gloating despite their obvious superiority. Good luck to them for the remainder of the season, and their push for the playoff places.
Horsham III 12 – 102 East Grinstead II