Horsham comfortably beaten by Guildford on opening day
Horsham were comfortably beaten 36-16 at Guildford in the first ever league meeting between the two clubs.
Before Horsham’s two recent promotions and Guildford’s relegation there were three leagues between the two clubs so the Green and Whites were expecting a tough encounter.
Guildford opened the scoring after four minutes after Horsham had lost a line-out. The ball was spun wide, a tackle was missed on the wing and Joe Garner ran in to score under the posts converted by Ieuan Jones.
Oli Chennell replied with a long range penalty following a turnover won by Joshua Salisbury, but the Green and Whites were playing the game in their own half, absorbing a lot of pressure, and on 19 minutes were outflanked again when Luke Evans raced in to score.
Chennell narrowed the deficit with a penalty and then after a series of penalties conceded by Horsham, Harry Phillips grounded the ball to score after a dynamic driving maul from 10 yards. After another rare foray into the Guildford half, Chennell slotted his third penalty as the visitors went into the break 19-9 down.
Guildford started the second half in a similar fashion to run around the Horsham backs for Alex Burrill to score in the corner and secure the four try bonus point whereas attacks from the Green and Whites were floundering in the face of a strong defence.
But, on 56 minutes, Taylor Morris crashed through the middle to score after a good passage of play to narrow the deficit to 24-16. The try was converted by Chennell to maintain his 100 per cent success rate.
Any hopes Horsham had of a comeback were dashed when a dropped ball from the kick off and the subsequent kick to the corner lead to a pushover try scored by Jones.
Guildford then complete the formalities with a long range try from inside their own half by winger Jack Potter.
Head of rugby, Nick Stocker, said: “A disappointing start to the season with a few injury and availability issues affecting performance. We allowed Guildford early points and confidence and it proved difficult to wrest back control.
"The scrum malfunctioned for 60 minutes until the referee’s interpretation altered the sway but at that stage we were playing catch up. There are things to work on but we know this is a long season and the tweaks are minor.
"Guildford will be in the mix come the end of the season and this is a good marker for our return at home.
"Charles Newey had a great start to his time at Horsham with a tough task at loose head and acquitted himself well.
"Oli Chennell had a great performance at 12 with a perfect kicking record and solidity in defence.
"Josh Salisbury was however awarded man of the match for a fine all-round display with a fine number of turnovers, carries and fine work in the line-out.
"Next week we have a tough local Sussex derby against old rivals Chichester who recorded a good home win and sit top of the table.”
Meanwhile Horsham’s 2nd XV had better fortunes with a thumping 52-26 win against East Grinstead 1st XV.