Horsham’s dream of cup glory and playing at Twickenham is over for another year after they lost 19-10 at Watford-based Fullerians in the third round of the Senior Vase.
Both sides top their respective leagues with neither team having lost for three months so something had to give.
Fullerians started the game playing with greater composure. Horsham allowed the home side’s kick-off to bounce just infield for a line-out which was won by the Green and Whites, but Ben Rush’s pass flew nowhere near Tom Johnson, the intended recipient, creating defensive chaos in the 22-metre area.
From the ensuing scrum, Fullerians spun the ball right, and fly-half Luc Jacobs committed a couple of Horsham players to the tackle and then made a delightful overhead pass to winger, Tom Williams, to outflank the visitor’s defence and score in the corner after four minutes.
The try was converted by Craig Duncan from near the touchline and Fullerians had a 7-0 lead.
Horsham looked to bounce back immediately and James Whiting was first to field the restart and launch an attack which almost resulted in a try in the right-hand corner.
The Green and Whites started to create a few phases of play and on 12 minutes, when Fullerians were caught offside in the backs, Johnson slotted the penalty to reduce the deficit to 7-3.
On 26 minutes, Jacobs put in a clever chip over the top of the Horsham defence, and Williams was first to pounce and ground the ball. With the try converted the home side took a 14-3 lead.
Horsham, however, didn’t get to the top of London 3 South East without a fighting spirit and started to put their patterns of play together.
Michael Tredgett picked up and charged from the back of the scrum, he was stopped just short and Johnson was first to pick up the loose ball and stretch for the line.
He converted his own try to reduce the deficit to 14-10. Johnson had the opportunity to narrow the gap just before half-time from a scrum penalty but missed his kick.
Horsham started the second half brightly and after a couple of breaks, Sean Tuhakariana chipped over the top and when Jamie Gibbs hacked on, Fullerians won the race to prevent the score.
Richard Tredgett then stole Fullerians’ line-out ball and Whiting was stopped just short of the line.
Horsham continued to hammer away and Kyle Fairs thought he had scored, but the referee was not convinced that he had grounded the ball.
After the Green and Whites had absorbed a period of pressure, Matt Bushell crossed the line, over which there was doubt as to whether the ball had been grounded, to seal the win for Fullerians, and there was no way back for Horsham.
Reaction in this week’s paper.