All the young Horsham sides shone at their own Mini Rugby Festival on Sunday and particularly the club’s under-12 and under-eight teams, who finished the day as champions of their age groups.
Some 800 boys and girls were competing from a variety of clubs and the fine weather helped bring out the crowds and make it another successful event at Horsham Rugby Club.
Following on from their success at the West Sussex Festival - when Horsham RUFC’s U12s qualified for next season’s A League the side managed to add their home festival in what is their last season in mini rugby.
Split into the pools, the Horsham Tigers had a great start with wins over Worthing and Pulborough, but were unable to overcome strong opposition from East Grinstead and Chichester.
Chichester won Pool B to set up a repeat of last season’s final against a Horsham Lions side who had dominated Pool A, winning all their games.
The final, as expected was a physical and hard fought encounter between two very talented sides.
Horsham’s squad spirit, skill and shear determination from every player allowed them to break through a strong Chichester defence to go one try up.
Chichester, not giving up, put constant pressure on Horsham, whose disciplined defence held strong and in the last minute scrum half Scott Saunders sealed the win with a solo opportunist try, picking up a loose ball inside his own 22 to run the length of the pitch to score.
The victory capped a fantastic effort from every player, both Tigers and Lions.
There was further success when the Henry Adams Cup for the most outstanding player of the U12’s final was awarded to Horsham player Elliot Powell.
A great finale to their mini rugby careers, next season as U13s they will play in Sussex U13 A league after finishing third in the West Sussex Festival a couple of weeks ago.
Earlier Horsham’s under-eights Lions Team produced their best rugby of the season to win their four group games comfortably, scoring 22 tries and conceding just five.
The defence proved a great form of attack with the defensive line, led by Morgan Purnell, forcing the opposition in to errors which were turned over and led to some spectacular tries.
Horsham in turn made no handling errors in five matches, passed the ball well and provided great support playing well as a team to beat Hove A&B, Haywards Heath and Lewes.
The final was against East Grinstead and once Horsham showed their superior all round game they were always several scores ahead, going on to win by five tries to three with scores from Sam Thurston, Sam Gordon, Daniel Brand, Liam Hughes and Morgan Purnell.
A full round up of another excellent Horsham Mini Rugby Festival, including pictures, will appear in Thursday’s West Sussex County Times.