However, the significantly depleted Horsham Colts came out on top against a strong Chichester side on Sunday in their Sussex Colts Premier League clash. This group of players is extremely resourceful and with a number of boys playing out of position (particularly in the backs) Horsham attacked the Chichester line from the start with the forwards immediately showing their dominance and power.
Despite being camped in the Chichester 22, Horsham blew numerous try scoring opportunities through a combination of outstanding cover defence, white line fever and clumsy handling and passing. The forwards continued to dominate but the normal fluency in the backs was missing despite stand in fly half, Matt Blake, trying his utmost to get the ball wide. Just as the coaches were beginning to get worried Declan Nwachukwu came off his left wing and made ground in midfield. He looped a pass to Ben Birch, now playing at outside centre having started at full back, and he spotted a gap in the Chichester defence which he cut through to score under the posts. Matt Blake made the simple conversion 7-0.
Horsham were soon back on the attack and when a static backs play saw the ball bounce out to Nwachukwu on the left wing there appeared little danger for the hosts. However, he somehow side stepped a 3 or 4 players, handed off a couple more before dashing towards the Chichester line here he touched down close enough to the posts for Blake to make his second conversion. 14 - 0. Despite further chances there was no more score in the first half.
Chichester came out strong in the second half and enjoyed a period of possession in the Horsham half. However, the away teams forwards dug deep and managed to drive up field on a number of occasions. With scrum half Josh Steggles going off with a bang on the nose and fly half Matt Blake having to leave to go to work, Horsham's back line was further disrupted with flankers Dan Cass and Max Phillips stepping into centre and wing respectively, Ben Birch taking on his 3rd position of the day as scrum half and Tom Clayton playing 10 for the first time in his life.
Understandably play became scrappy and based in centre field. Chichester continued to try and get back in the game but powerful running from Horsham forwards Kyle Fairs, Dan Riley, Jack Plane, Liam Brady and David Fennelly kept forcing the game back into the home sides 22. From a scrum on the Chichester 22, scrum half Ben Birch broke blind and though there appeared significant cover defence, he managed to evade a number of tackles to touch down for his second try. The conversion was missed 19-0.
Unfortunately, in attempting to tackle Birch, two Chichester players clashed heads and subsequently needed treatment on the pitch. The referee made the sensible decision to blow for time a few minutes early. Happily, both boys are okay.
Final score 19 - 0 to Horsham.
Man of the match: Ben