Green and Whites just lose out in thriller with Hove, who march on towards promotion
Hove beat Horsham 43-38 in a fantastic advert for rugby and maintain their inexorable march towards the second-place play-off spot for promotion into London 1 South.
It was quite a turnaround from being 28-7 down at the half hour mark.
Horsham opened the scoring after a sustained period of pressure eventually saw a Nick Bell line break off great shape in attack to score under the posts.
Hove bounced back with an interception try off a Tom Johnson pass whilst trying to take advantage of the overlap created.
Horsham retook the lead with a good counter attack from a turnover which saw Joe Wilde pass inside to the supporting Tom Blewitt to score with the try converted by Wilde.
When on 33 minutes Wilde made a chip over the on-rushing defence, won the race to touch down and then convert his own try the result appeared to be decided with Hove 7-28 down,
Hove did not accept they were beaten. After a period of pressure close to the Horsham line the visitors conceded a penalty try from a scrum, a minute later Hove scored another try from an off-load out of the tackle and with both tries converted within the space of two minutes had narrowed the deficit to 21-28 as they went into the half-time break.
Horsham started the second half strongly when Johnson powered over the line after a good line out drive with the try converted by Wilde then Hove bounced back with a try off a turnover, Horsham led 38-26 and the Green and Whites still had a comfortable lead but Hove were finishing strongly. Hove took the lead for the first time on 75 minutes and then cleverly ran down the clock by retaining possession through several phases of play and when Horsham conceded another penalty it was game over for the visitors. The penalty-kick was successful taking the score to 43-38 and full-time.
Horsham head coach Nick Stocker reflected after the game: “A disappointing result to a very entertaining game of rugby. An interception try against and switching off for two minutes at the end of the first half allowed Hove back into the game which should have been closed out in the second half.
“However, in truth, we showed some inexperience in not playing field position effectively enough in the second half to close the game out.
“In terms of performances, there were a number of strong performances across the team. Liam Brady had a good game against a very experienced National 2 prop and will learn from the experience.
“Next year’s 4G pitch will see lots of tries. Wilde and Tom Johnson were excellent all afternoon and Eliot Mills had his best ever game.
“We decided to share the man of the match award between Johnny Ordidge and Dan Cass. Both came into the team this week and played very well. Johnny Ordidge carried hard and Dan Cass was simply possessed.”