Report by Tony Lewis
On Sunday the 22nd April Horsham Colts continued their journey into the last eight of the RFU National Cup. Having been lucky enough to secure a home tie the visitors were Worcester RFC Colts who are flying high in the extremely competitive North Midlands Colts League.
The weather was perfect for running rugby and a crowd of around 300 were treated to plenty of this. Horsham started in extremely positive fashion and attacked with pace and intensity from the kick off. Within two minutes winger Max Paterson was released into space and was within one metre of opening the scoring. The Horsham forwards were being extremely aggressive in the contact area and putting their much larger opponents under a lot of pressure. Continued pressure and swift passing led to a break from back row forward Vince Everitt who crossed the line to score the opening try. This was successfully converted by fly-half Joe Blake. The game continued for the next 15 minutes in similar vein and more good work from the forwards and swift hands from the backs resulted in a second try for Everitt which again, was converted by Blake resulting in Horsham having a 14-0 lead half way through the first half. Worcester finally got into Horsham’s half and following a charge down kick a lucky bounce found their winger in space and he was able to score in the corner. Whilst the conversion was missed this score gave Worcester a huge lift as up to that point they had really not been in the game. They started to put more pressure on Horsham at the break down and this resulted in Horsham giving away several penalties. One of these was converted by the Worcester fly-half to make the score 14-8 in Horsham’s favour. Worcester dominated for the rest of the half without getting particularly close to scoring.
The half time talk between the Horsham coaching staff and players was that Horsham were undoubtedly the stronger side with a lot more pace than their opposition and if the team remained calm and moved the ball victory could be achieved.
Early pressure in the second half resulted in a Blake penalty and from that point onwards Horsham’s confidence soared and further excellent tries were scored by Blake and winger Conor Riley. Riley’s effort was a length of the field try involving forwards and backs inter passing with great skill and precision.
What was very impressive about the Horsham effort was that this was all despite serious injuries to scrum half Aaron Linfield and centre Jem Minto who both suffered bone breaks in the first half and will very sadly be out for the rest of the season. Their replacements Marcus Condon and Josh Suder fitted in seamlessly and very much proved the strength in depth of the Horsham squad.
With ten minutes to go Horsham kicked a further penalty meaning they were leading 32-8 and the game felt safe. Horsham were able to utilise their full bench and it was good to see meaningful contributions from Cam Homer, Dan Phelps, Ian Paku, Tyrick Gonzague and Alex MacFarlane. Worcester were spirited throughout the game and the final action was a Worcester try that went unconverted meaning the final score to the delight of the vociferous crowd was Horsham 32 Worcester 13.
Following the game Horsham head coach Tony Lewis said “That was a truly excellent performance from the boys. Our big game players such as Josh Earle, Eddie Grogan, Simon Powell, Alfie Burchfield and Charlie Best all very much stood up to be counted.The skipper Sam Jewell very much led by example. Indeed the entire 22 performed with great credit and there is no doubt that a starting XV is only as good as its squad. We are very lucky this year in that we have a squad of 28 players who are all determined and talented and who all support each other to the full.
Next week we have the Sussex Cup final which we are determined to give our all in and the following week the National Cup Semi Final in which we have been drawn away to Maidenhead on May 6th.We cant wait!”