In bright, dry but breezy conditions the game started at a frantic pace and both teams nearly scored in the first 90 seconds. From the kick off the impressive Brighton centre caught the ball and evaded numerous tackles before being brought down in the Horsham 22. Horsham recycled the ball and fly half Callum Boswell kicked out wide. The ball was gathered by right wing Ben Birch who handed off and outpaced the covering defence, only to be tackled into touch just short of the line. Breathless stuff.
The game settled down with most of the play taking place in the Brighton 22. Horsham were awarded a penalty and unlike against Hove when they let 6 kickable points go, the home side decided to go for goal and Boswell put them 3 points in the lead.
Horsham continued to attack through forwards and backs and the pressure finally told when slick hands in the backs saw left wing Declan Nwachukwu take the overlap and run in under the posts. Boswell added the conversion. More good hands on the counter attack, especially from centre Tom Clayton, saw Birch received the ball in space and power over into the corner. The conversion was missed but Horsham lead 15 - 0.
The home side continued to dominate but following confusion with a 5 metre penalty "cavalry charge" Horsham lost the discipline for a short period and conceded a number of penalties including being marched back 20 metres for questioning the decisions. This culminated in a try and conversion for Brighton and they were very much back in the game against the run of play. Fortunately, the half time whistle came and Horsham could regroup. HT 15 - 7
Horsham continued to press from the start of the second half and following a powerful driving maul from the impressive forwards the ball was spun wide. Full back George Palmer entered the line and following a couple of fantastic side steps, touched down under the posts. Boswell added the conversion.
With the score 22 - 7 Horsham were after the bonus point and they thought they had it when following a quick tapped free kick in their own 22, the ball was moved wide and replacement centre Liam Ruz timed his pass to Nwachukwu perfectly. The wing beat a number of defenders and appeared to have touched down in the corner following a fine last ditch tackle by the Brighton full back. As Horsham celebrated the try was disallowed for a double movement.
The bonus point try continued to elude Horsham and Brighton showed great determination and skill to force their way into the opposition 22. Horsham's defence was resolute but Brighton eventually forced their forwards over the line for a converted try. However, with time almost up it didn't affect the final outcome and the whistle went to leave Horsham 22 -14 winners. Wins against Brighton never come easy (or often) but this is the second in a row for Horsham Colts and makes all the hard work worthwhile.