Horsham struggled to overcome a plucky Beccehamians side who had lost every game of the season so far in difficult handling conditions at West Wickham, drawing 6-6.
With games being cancelled throughout Kent and Sussex due to adverse weather conditions, there was doubt as to whether the match would go ahead. The correct decision was made to play the game even though in the wind and rain the heavy ground was a leveller and reduced the game to an arm wrestle.
The spirit of the Beccehamians side belied their lowly league position and perhaps there was an air of complacency about Horsham with more difficult fixtures, on paper at least, on the horizon.
Indeed with two players in the sin bin for the last ten minutes, the Green and Whites were hanging on at the end defending their try line in a game they might well have lost.
Horsham struggled to establish their habitual command at the scrum although the line out functioned well.
There was little flow or pattern to the game and the Beccehamians half backs played the conditions better than their Horsham counterparts by using the wind to pin the Green and Whites into defending the left hand corner.
Beccehamians managed to slow Horsham’s ball down, passes were going astray, possession was error strewn, and the Green and Whites could not create any phases to their game without being penalised.
Horsham did not help themselves by trying to run the ball out of defence when playing the percentages and kicking for territory should have been the order of the day.
Having absorbed a period of pressure including a Beccehamians five yard scrum, Horsham gradually attained some ascendancy but neither side was able to trouble the scoreboard.
On 12 minutes Paul Talbot and Jordan Smith linked well to launch Horsham’s first meaningful counter attack, and then James Whiting sliced open the Beccehamians defence from a well executed backs move to offload to the supporting Jamie Gibbs, who was hauled down just short.
Later in the half Horsham should have scored from a rolling maul but poor execution lead to a penalty conceded and the pressure relived.
On 35 minutes Will Bell landed the game’s first penalty attempt to give Horsham a 3-0 lead, the hosts then missing a penalty on the stroke of half time.
Horsham rang the changes at the start of the second half to try and spark them into life, though they were unable to establish any dominance.
Nick Bell and Jonny Whiting made a succession of big tackles as penalty kicks were exchanged and the dogfight continued.
With Horsham only narrowly leading 6-3 going into the last ten minutes, frustration saw both Jake Lowe and Jonny Whiting were yellow carded.
The 13 men bravely defended the try line as Beccehamians levelled the scores with a penalty in a result which suited neither side and a game that will not live long in the memory.
A disappointed Horsham coach Nick Stocker said: “We should have played with the same intensity as in recent weeks but we left three clear cut scoring opportunities out on the pitch. There was an element of complacency and also rustiness following the Christmas break with too many players below par.
“I thought Jake Lowe had a good game with his line out throwing, playing for the 1st XV for the first time this season, and Will Bell did well when he went to nine. Credit should be given to Beccehamians for being the first side to stop us scoring a try so far this season and this was a salutary lesson for the rest of our campaign if we are to fulfil our aspirations.”
Horsham’s next game is at home to Ashford on Saturday January 11.
Horsham: Talbot (capt), Lowe (Penfold 78), Barber; Jonny Whiting, Grover; Smith (Fisher 49), Nick Bell, Ordidge; Rush (Goward 49), Price; James Whiting, Taylor, Gibbs, Will Bell; Sam Bell.