Eight unanswered tries saw Horsham Under-15s put Eastbourne to the sword on Saturday with a 55-0 victory, writes Simon Hooley.
On a cold and blustery February morning, Horsham set off at a blistering pace, and after only four minutes were leading 12-0 thanks to two pacy finishes from outside centre George Palmer.
The Horsham pack was hungry for possession and as scrum half Nick Bayne and fly half Callum Boswell combined well to spread play wide, the Eastbourne defence was being stretched.
A good take from No.8 Duncan Watkins straight from kick off, and great support play from flanker Paul Schroter forced a penalty, and after the forwards went through the phases it was finally worked to Canice Gonzague to score in the corner. Brilliantly converted from the touchline by Rowan Murphy-Hunt, Horsham now led 19-0.
Perhaps inspired by his excellent kick, Murphy-Hunt then enjoyed a canter from the half-way line through what seemed like the entire Eastbourne defence to score the fourth Horsham try, which he then converted himself.
Before the break, the Green & Whites pack continued to compete powerfully, forcing Eastbourne to concede another penalty. With good dummy runs from Watkins and Schroter, scrum half Aiden Thompson played a sublime pass that led to a try from Nathan Kennell, converted by Boswell for a 33-0 half-time lead.
Horsham’s strength in depth saw them bring on newcomer Edwin Wraith, along with Joe Roche, Justin Dzomekhu and Rory McGearty without altering the Green and Whites momentum.
Roche caught the eye with some assertive rucking, Wraith and McGearty tackled well and Justin was impressive as ever.
To their credit, Eastbourne never let their heads drop and continued to compete.
The calm and reliable full back James Tandy made a couple of assured pick-ups when in the role of last man, and ran at Eastbourne with his customary pace and purpose. Following good team play, Gonzague got his second try.
Horsham continued to impress with some tidy back row moves and scored further tries from Watkins and Schroter after Tandy had come close, the conversion completing a high-scoring afternoon for Horsham.
Scoring the fourth try earned the bonus point which assures Horsham’s place in the County Final. Come along and support the boys on Sunday March 17 at Worthing RFC.