Stocker left unimpressed as Horsham fail to do the basics against Heathfield

Horsham's Jonny Whiting on the ball against Heathfield & Waldron on Saturday
Horsham's Jonny Whiting on the ball against Heathfield & Waldron on Saturday

Nick Stocker rued his side’s inability to do the basics as bottom-half-of-the-table side Heathfield & Waldron came out 39-21 winners against Horsham in London 2 South East.

The head coach wasn’t pleased with their performance, after a poor second-half showing handed their opponents victory.

With the Green and Whites basking in mid-table obscurity and hit by unavailability due to the England game at Twickenham, and Heathfield & Waldron being in greater need of a win to escape the clutches of relegation, the home side ran out deserved winners in this Sussex derby.

Horsham started strongly and took an early lead after two minutes with a try from Jonny Whiting after a catch and drive off a line-out.

Heathfield came back with a converted try and a penalty before the Green and Whites responded with a carbon-copy catch-and-drive try from a line-out scored by Jordan Smith.

Tom Johnson converted both tries as Horsham took a 14-10 lead into half-time.

The second half was to be a different story as Heathfield scored four more tries before George Palmer scored a consolation try at the end converted by Johnson.

In regards to the way his side played, Stocker said: “It was a poor performance all-round. Basic skills abandoned us all day and we couldn’t get any phases going, and ultimately that kept the opposition in the game.

“We came out on the wrong side of it on account of the opposition fighting hard against relegation, and we are sitting in mid-table obscurity without anything to win or lose.

“In the last 30 minutes we handed them the initiative. If you lose one of your key sources of possession and you’re not getting anything from it then you can’t go through many phases of pressure.

“I think it’s partly due to concentration levels of individuals. The week before we didn’t miss a lineout. It is a case of consistency and concentration so it’s not a case of saying the guys don’t lack the skills, it’s due to execution.”

Up next for Horsham is a Bob Rogers Cup semi-final clash against Chichester 2nds. Stocker believes it will be a tight affair as they look to win the competition for the fourth time in a row, but is disappointed in the way some Sussex clubs have devalued this competition.

He added: “It all depends on how many first team players actually play for Chichester 2nds. They will be a good side. They’re not playing National League rugby for no reason.”

“We want to win it for the fourth time, but it’s a disappointing competition to a certain extent. Unfortunately not every team has taken part, and the first game for us is already the semi-final. It is disappointing, and I know Sussex RFU are trying not to devalue the cup.”

“It’s an opportunity to win some silverware, and I know the priority is to stay in the league but sometimes that release of pressure from league rugby actually gets the guys to perform.”

Horsham: Brady, Grantham-Hill, Barber, Clarkson, Maguire, Smith, N.Bell, Whiting, Steggles, Porter, Crook, Johnson, J.Bell, Gonzague, Palmer. Subs: Plumpton, O’Rahilly.