Horsham Rugby Club put in most frustrating display of the season as they lose to Old Colfeians

Nick Stocker
Nick Stocker

The only thing more disappointing than the weather on Saturday was the 80 minutes of rugby that would play out on Horsham's AGP.

As loyal supporters huddled on the sideline, bracing against wind and rain, Horsham put in their most frustrating performance to date this season.

There were glimmers of hope throughout, but those glimmers were seemingly extinguished by the relentless wet weather, and equally relentless pressure from the opposition.

The best that could be said of the first 10 minutes was that it was very, very wet. Something was clearly happening out on the field, but it was not recognisable as the rugby we had become used to over the last few weeks.

When Emperor Nero would walk the streets of Rome, he employed a servant at his side to continuously telling him "you are just a man". This to avoid the supreme power he wielded from consuming him, and giving him ideas above his mortal station.

On Saturday, Old Colfeians would be the team to mutter this in Horsham's ears for 80 long minutes. Horsham's dominance over the last few weeks was surely halted, whether due to the abysmal conditions, or that Old Colfeians were simply the better side.

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After 10 minutes Horsham conceded a penalty against which is successfully kicked by the Old Colfeians number 10.

Too many missed tackles culminated in a converted Old Colfeians try against and the Green and Whites were 10-0 down now with 25 minutes gone.

Tom Johnson was unable to convert a penalty - even for a kicker of his calibre, the crossfield wind and the slippery conditions would mean that kicking was likely to be a challenge throughout.

The first 17 minutes of the second half saw two Horsham changes; Johnny Whiting on for Richard Tredgett, and Nick Bell on for Kyle Fairs.

Michael Tredgett drove over the line from a maul which was a sudden and unexpected turn of events, but an extremely welcome one for the home side.

The players had truly put in a shift by now, there would be no taking that away from them. However, the momentum never shifted in Horsham's favour on Saturday which made for frustration for supporters and players alike. Tom Johnson successfully converted to see Horsham within three points of Old Colfeians at 10-7, 57 minutes gone.

The last 20 minutes was dominated by Horsham possession but, again, there seemed to be no answer to the question of how to break the opposition's line, and turn effort into points. Final score, 10-7 to Old Colfeians.

Coach Nick Stocker said after the game: "We started poorly and for some reason offered little physicality and fire in the face of a big pack. We gave them a head start with cheap territory and a few too many missed tackles in the first 25 minutes which as their coach said, gave them an early boost of confidence and set the tone for the defiance Colfeians showed in defence thereafter.

"In the second half we were much better. Our lineout secured our ball and some of theirs. Their early scrum dominance was countered and became an even battle, and we moved the ball with more purpose putting them on the back foot. However we just could not find a way through.

"We missed two huge opportunities to score, had a try disallowed by an unsighted ref and coughed up too much possession with the next phase likely to result in a try. Credit to Colfeians defensive resilience and structure, who fought for every scrap but today we just weren’t good enough."

Next week will be a tough game away at table leader's Beckenham. A return to previous form will be needed, and if Horsham excel at one thing, it's rising to the occasion. Apart from when it rains.