So back on the road again and with early availabilities promising a good squad another victory was hoped for. Whilst the Barbarians have been experiencing a resurgence a similar story is also occurring in Crawley and with both teams carrying a number a subs the scene was set for a another competitive game.
Horsham won the toss and elected to kick, Crawley were soon in to their pattern carrying the ball with purpose into the midfield and fringes with gusto but Horsham were up to the task, holding up the ball carrier on numerous occasions resulting in scrums or turnovers. Crawley managed to create the best of the early pressure and it was only some brave defence on the line to prevent them from getting the first score. The half was mostly played between the 22's and the Horsham pack was starting to get ascendancy in the scrums yet the first score came from an unlikely opportunity which Crawley may feel a little aggrieved. A hurried clearance from a scrum under pressure was dropped on by Gary Simmonds with Otto Carlisle in support, then with Gary returning to his feet he appeared to make contact with Otto before the opposition. This was on or around our 22, the resulting pass found James Passfield who with a turn of pace and step ran the length of the field to get Horsham off the mark. Now whilst Crawley may feel slightly hard done by with the accidental offside pludits must go to James and perhaps a better chase would have snuffed out the attack at source. The score seemed to galvinate Horsham and with Crawley getting frustrated at the referee's interpretation of the breakdown Horsham won a scrum 5m out. A controlled drive saw Mark Ross dot down over the line.
Two scores up at half time and with scrums definitely in Horsham's favour and line outs working the best they had all season thanks some good work by Mike Fisher and Mark Ross and together with their lifters they were also doing a fine job managing to disrupt the Crawley line out. However Crawley weren't finished and some resolute defending from a series of phases by the Horsham won a turn over and with many of the Horsham backs having been sucked into the Horsham attack a nice series of passes saw them dot down for well worked counter strike.
Suddenly the momentum had shifted and things were going to get worse for Horsham. In quick succession both Otto Carlisle (ribs) and Gary Simmonds blood were both off, and despite good numbers we were a little shy of backs cover . Cue Paul Fergusson who was playing his first game in 12 years and Jim Richards who may have been making his debut on the wing. Crawley may have noticed a slight lack of pace down that side as they started to push the ball wide. With both teams knowing the next score was crucial and with the partisan crowd getting into the match it was Horsham who ultimatly dealt the decisive blow. A move up the blindside made good yards and forced a penalty. The resulting kick was put expertly in the danger area by James Passfield and the forwards executed perfectly with Kim Platfoot adding the definitive touch from the controlled drive of the forwards. With two scores to the good Horsham could breathe a little easier but not before Jim Richards made a bid for the winger's starting place next year with some great defensive work and the flourish of taking a clearly called mark to end the game.
A beer or two shared between the teams and some words around the spirit and values of the game set the foundations for the return matches next season, thanks to Crawley for being good hosts.
Everyone who made themselves available and turned up played a key part in an important win, because of the knock on effect not being available for 1's and Lions has on the Barbarians team please do all you can to get out next week. This is first step towards another clean sweep.
Finally MOTM this week was a unanimous choice for Mike Drew who put in a massive shift doing the hard yards around the breakdown. One of a number of good performances for yet another thoroughly enjoyable Horsham team efforts.
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