Horsham ended their Hove hoodoo with a resounding and rampant 53-14 victory on the south coast on Saturday.
It was the Green and White’s most significant league win in many years as they scored four tries in each half and played with great intensity and accuracy.
For the last few seasons Hove have been playing league rugby two divisions higher than Horsham and the decisive outcome of the game was a mark of the changing fortunes of the two clubs.
Following a thrashing handed out by Tunbridge Wells on the opening day of the season, Horsham now know what to expect in this league following promotion into London 2 South East, and have found their feet by recording four successive bonus-point wins and climbing to third in the table.
Horsham were dominant from the outset and after six minutes Hove were penalised for offside again following good scrum pressure and Tom Johnson made no mistake.
On 15 minutes following pressure from a driving maul, the ball was moved wide and Johnson accelerated on to a fine offload by Matt McCabe to break through the gap to score and convert his own try.
The home side infringed repeatedly and the referee’s patience finally ran out when Hove were awarded the first of three yellow cards, this time for not rolling away.
Following a good line-out, Tom Johnson faded on to an outside pass to slice open the defence from first phase possession to score and convert after 27 minutes to take a 17-0 lead and at this point he had scored all of Horsham’s points.
Four minutes later, Arun Thompson burst through some weak tackling in midfield after good phase play to score.
Hove incurred another yellow card when they lost their hooker to an off-the-ball incident, and Horsham sought to capitalise on playing against 13 men but found their rolling maul penalised for blocking when a score looked certain.
Jonny Whiting made a good carry before offloading to Johnny Ordidge who powered through several defenders to score from 30 yards, and Horsham went into the break 31-0 up having secured the four-try bonus point.
Horsham started the second half at the same pace that they finished the first, although Hove prop Martyn Woodhead crashed through to score with the try converted by Sam Whiting to reduce the deficit to 31-7.
Horsham extended their lead again on 49 minutes when they kicked for the corner after Hove had been found offside and this time they executed a catch and drive perfectly for Andy Gray to score.
After multiple phase play Hove conceded a penalty and following a quick tap the ball was spun wide to Ordidge who fixed his man and put McCabe in to score.
Thompson turned on the power to score from the back of a scrum off first phase possession with the try converted by James Johnson.
A free-kick was awarded to Hove following a scrum turnover and scrum-half Massimo Hiller made a darting run to score under the posts to make the score 48-17 after 70 minutes, and then Mills capped a great win for Horsham by rounding off a fine counter attack in the final minute.
Horsham’s next fixture is at home to league leaders Sevenoaks, who are in ominous form, on November 7.
Horsham: Watts, Ordidge, McCabe, T.Johnson (Hart 42), Crook, J.Johnson, Mills, Barber, Grantham-Hill, Brady (Harcus 54), Whiting, Tredgett, Smith (Gray 40), Thompson, Gaynor.