Never-say-die Horsham snatch late draw in barnstormer

Horsham and Cobham shared the spoils in a thrilling 32-32 draw at Coolhurst on Saturday.

Wednesday, 27th October 2021, 11:18 am
James Keyworth goes on the charge in Horsham's thrilling draw with Cobham. Picture by

It was a game that will live long in the memory, and one which also saw Jonny Goward make his 100th first XV appearance for the club.

Two well-matched teams played a flowing attacking game with the lead changing hands several times, with the result in doubt up until the final whistle.

It was quick thinking from Nick Bell in the 78th minute to react first to dive on the ball to score as Cobham were caught napping at a defensive scrum following huge pressure from Horsham, that secured a share of the points.

Declan Nwachukwu looks to run at the Cobham defence. Picture by Natalie Mayhew, Butterfly Rugby

The draw sees the Green and Whites climb to 10th place in London 1 South, having taken 12 points from seven games.

Dan Allchurch opened the scoring for Cobham after two minutes out wide from well moved ball which was converted by Ant Braithwaite, but Horsham quickly replied through James Keyworth after a great carry from Declan Nwachukwu and some good support from Will Bell and Oli Chennell.

Horsham then took the lead on 15 minutes after a great set of phases saw the ball moved whilst advantage was being played, before Keyworth made a break to put Nwachukwu away to finish. The try was well converted by Chennell.

Cobham came back into the game with a Braithwaite penalty, and then retook the lead with a converted try from Max MacDonald from well moved ball in their own 22 metre area following a line break between the Horsham centres.

Chennell narrowed the gap with a penalty as the Green and Whites went into half time 15-17 down.

Horsham retook the lead shortly after the break when great patience saw multiple phases which was well finished out wide by Nwachukwu following a delayed pass by Jack Best.

This was extended on 53 minutes to 27-17 after some great multi-player phases before Jack Osgood crowned his 50th first XV appearance for the Green and Whites to finish well from close range under the posts.

There was then a 15 point swing in the other direction with tries from Niall Saunders and MacDonald, and a penalty and conversion from Braithwaite, as Cobham took a five point lead in the 72nd minute

Cobham seemingly had all the momentum going into the final stages before Horsham’s never say die attitude and Nick Bell’s opportunism secured the draw.

Chennell had the opportunity to win the game but his conversion attempt went wide

Horsham head of rugby Nick Stocker said: “A great advert for community rugby with two good sides playing in an ambitious way scoring some delightful tries that kept the supporters entertained to the very end.

"From our perspective, probably more a case of two points dropped, particularly having built up a ten point lead with 25 to play and looking fairly comfortable.

"However we lost concentration and found ourselves all square 10 minutes later.

"Indeed, we fell behind with eight minutes to play and showed great character and resilience to even things up at the death.

"With the tough conversion missed, and the referee ordering a retake due to some unsportsmanlike conduct, the drama continued to the bitter end.

"At the end, despite both teams still playing to win in time added on, a tackle into touch saw the referee blow for time, and with it the draw which both sides will feel simultaneously pleased and disappointed with.

"With a number of strong performances across the team including strong carrying from the likes of Mike Tredgett and Jack Osgood, excellent pace and delivery from Aaron Linfield and good control shown by Jack Best, the man of the match was ultimately awarded to James Keyworth who defended admirably throughout whilst his excellent support play earned him an excellent try that originated in our own 22 metre area.

"Coupled with his fine line breaks in attack he is now showing his class having settled into the team following time out from injuries.

"Next week we have a tough away fixture against Camberley who continue to perform well towards the top of the table."