CRUCIAL refereeing decisions hurt Horsham RUFC in their defeat to Maidstone.
The Green and Whites were 10-8 up at one stage before slumping to a 16-10 loss in London South East 3, and coach Nick Stocker admitted their season is fizzling out, although they were unhappy about two decisions which went against them.
“The decisions hurt us because they led directly to tries,” Stocker said. “The rub of the green went Maidstone’s way. But we cannot blame the referee. We should have secured the win long before.
“The season does appear to be fizzling out. We have a lot of injuries, but we had a few old heads and people who have played first team rugby.”
Horsham held their own for long spells in the first half, but went behind to a 44th minute penalty, and fell further behind when a forward pass was not spotted in a Maidstone move and the visitors crossed for the first try of the day.
A fight back did materialise from Horsham, as a series of very good line breaks were followed up by Jamie Gibbs who scored an unconverted try. The Green and Whites then followed that up with a contender for try of the season. Think of the Barbarians in full flow, or the French at their best, as the ball passed through several sets of hands. Rob Grantham-Hill, Liam Yates, Christian Squires and Rob Hoskins were involved at least once before Gibbs crossed again to make it 10-8.
A Maidstone penalty reduced the arreas to one point and it was set up for a tense finish.
Another controversial incident followed as the ball was knocked out of Ashley’s Marsh’s hand by a Maidstone forward who came from an offside position - the visitors then broke to score the winning, unconverted, try.
Stoker added: “The guys thought they should have won, it is the fourth game this season we have lost within a score.”