Horsham Ladies feel the heat in last game of the campaign
Horsham Ladies first XV welcomed their local rivals Pulborough Misfits for their last, much-anticipated match of the season.
It was a warm Friday night at Coolhurst, with the ladies showing off their new kit sponsored by Thakeham.
The crowd were delighted by a lively start to the match, as Horsham demonstrated some good tackling while Pulborough moved the ball swiftly.
Horsham made a strong drive forward from the line out and recycled possession well, unfortunately giving away a penalty to Pulborough for a Covid-friendly scrum.
Strong defence from Horsham led to Pulborough handling errors. Fifteen minutes in Kate Leyshon provided a strong kick up field and Wendy Shepherd made a strong tackle allowing Horsham to win the turnover close to their line, Maddie Matthews then made a strong run forwards but couldn't quite make the try.
In the second quarter, the ball sailed above the heads of the jumpers at a Horsham line outs but the non-jumpers took the ball in and then spread the ball to the backs, running hard up the pitch followed by some strong forward play.
Horsham then found themselves on the back foot as they gave away penalties and had to work hard to repel a strong attack from Pulborough.
Shepherd was injured on 28 minutes to be carried off the pitch, replaced by Gina Leadbeatter who joined the line out as play restarted.
Horsham lost momentum and Pulborough took advantage, attacking strongly and scoring twice before half-time.
After a welcome half-time break, and some rousing words from the coaching team and captain Alyce O'Connor, play restarted under the lights.
The experience of the visitor’s side began to show as they changed up their game plan to challenge Horsham.
Horsham defended valiantly but Pulborough were able to pass the ball around swiftly and were the dominant side in the second half.
As Horsham started to flag, the finishers came on and the coaches made some changes, with Ellie Mayes moving to a new position and Jo Thomas taking over as 9.
Casey Watson's fresh legs and energy had a noticeable impact reinvigorating the team.
The last 30 minutes however saw the home side rattled and Pulborough were able to take the advantage and score three more tries, without converting, running out 0-25 winners.