Pulborough revel in Horsham derby win

JPCT 151212 RUGBY: Pulborough v Horsham. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 151212 RUGBY: Pulborough v Horsham. Photo by Derek Martin

Pulborough rugby club saluted a gritty defensive display after their last-gasp win against local rivals Horsham on Saturday.

Nicky Denman nipped in to score the decisive try after a 79th minute interception, and the Black and Whites claimed the bragging rights in dramatic fashion.

Skipper Richard Nicholls said: “We put out probably our strongest side of the season and I think both teams played well. Our defence probably was the difference.

“I’m sure Horsham will want to get us back at their place, but until then we own the bragging rights.”

In front of a big crowd at Freelands, hosts Pulboroug knew this was a must win game against a Horsham side who had slipped from third to sixth in the London 3 South East table.

It looked to be going to plan for Horsham in the early stages, as Mark Brandon powered over for an unconverted try, and the Green and Whites were beginning to look dominant in the scrum.

Pulborough held firm however and once they started to apply pressure of their own were rewarded with a penalty which drifted wide in the high winds.

It was at the break down where the home side found most success, and after one turnover the ball was spun left for Mark Cleghorn, who kicked ahead and won the race for the line to score out wide.

In tricky kicking conditions, the conversion was missed, and Horsham restored their advantage before the break. More good work from the pack saw Sam Rice snipe on the blind side to make it 10-5.

With the wind at their backs, Pulborough were back on level terms early in the second half. A penalty was punted to the corner, and when the Boro lineout secured good ball, Clayton Saunders crossed from close range for another unconverted try.

Neither side could establish long periods of dominance though, and the power of Horsham’s forwards again proved critical, as Brandon sniped around the base of the scrum to good effect, and offloaded to Rice, who darted in.

That was to be Horsham’s final score however as Boro drew level again after an impressive line break by Matt Twelvetrees, the ball moved out to the winger Will Akers, who drew his man and passed back infield to full back Lee Everett, the Aussie just making the line with Horsham defenders all over him.

With ten minutes to go, both sides could sense victory and Horsham were attempting to force the pace. A misplaced pass later, and Pulborough’s Denman racing in under the posts before he added the extras.

There was time for just one more play, and despite Horsham’s late pressure, Pulborough turned the ball over and found touch to complete what will be a famous win at Freelands.