Horsham rugby coach issues relegation warning

HORSHAM have been warned they have two games to save their season.

The Green and Whites’ first XV have been left deep in London South East 3 relegation trouble following defeat to Park House on Saturday, and are ten points from safety. Crawley currently occupy the last ‘safe’ spot in the division, and coach Nick Stocker believes the meeting of the two sides on February 26 could decide their fate.

He said: “Relegation is a real possibility.

“If we are to be safe we have to realistically look at winning four games from our remaining six. We did something like that before when I first arrived here.

“But one of those games is (leaders) Crowborough, that will be a big ask, another is (sixth placed) Folkestone away. That makes the games this weekend against Bromley and the week after against Crawley vital. They will be relegation battles.

“Both of those sides are are catchable.

“The coaches are upset and the players are upset.

“It has been made clear that this is well below the standard that is expected. On current form we are only worthy of Sussex league rugby.”

The Green and Whites also face fellow strugglers Dartfordians and the return match against Park House in the run in - the results of which could turn out to be academic.

Unlike previous seasons, it is understood there will be no reprieve for potentially relegated teams. So three are expected to go down, and with Horsham second bottom, the situation is starting to look grim.

Stocker added: “If we lose to Bromley, it is going to be contingent on other results. If we lost to Crawley we are down.

“It seems to be that if we are up against it, we will do well. But if it’s a team we are expected to compete against it seems we think we are better than we are.

“I am concsious of kicking people while they are down, and we can treat people with kid gloves and worry about sensitivities when you give people the reailty, but the other team on the pitch does not care about that. They want to strike where we are weak.”

The Coolhurst outfit are embarking on a major project to refurbish the clubhouse, and provide new changing facilities.

The first stage of the estimated £700,000 works, a new roof, is expected to be completed later this year. And the ambition off the pitch needs to be matched on the pitch says Stocker.

“For a club which is ambitious to drive forward, relegation of its first team cannot happen,” he commented.

“We are all under pressure.”

l Meanwhile, there was better news for the Horsham second XV, the Lions. who have romped away with the Sussex 3 West title.

An emphatic 46-5 win against Hove fifths on Saturday means they cannot be overtaken at the top and they will now be playing Sussex 2 rugby next season.