Champions elect Beckenham extend lead with comfortable victory against young Horsham outfit

Tom Johnson in action for Horsham RUFC at home to Deal & Betteshanger. Picture by Clive Turner SUS-180111-093359001
Tom Johnson in action for Horsham RUFC at home to Deal & Betteshanger. Picture by Clive Turner SUS-180111-093359001

Champions elect Beckenham extended their lead at the top of London 2 South East to 12 points with a comfortable 26-10 win at home to Horsham on Saturday.

It was a great weekend for Beckenham, with their three closest challengers Charlton Park, Horsham, and Gravesend all losing.

The Green and Whites made the trip to Balmoral Avenue in hope rather than expectation having been on the end of a chastening 22-50 defeat at home to Beckenham earlier in the season and their fortunes were not helped by the absence of the Tredgett brothers.

Instead hopes were placed in youth with a squad containing five players still in their teens, but the atrocious conditions of cold, incessant rain put paid to Horsham playing an expansive game.

The deadlock was broken on 15 minutes when Beckenham were caught offside, and when the home side’s backs encroached from the ensuing line-out, Tom Johnson kicked the penalty.

Controversy reigned when following a quickly-taken tap penalty, which appeared to be some way from where the offence had taken place, Jamie McDowall scampered in under the posts. Louis Richards made no mistake with the conversion and the hosts led 7-3.

Beckenham were awarded a penalty try from an attacking scrum on the stroke of half-time which Richards converted and they went into the break leading 14-3.

After numerous chances at the start of the first half went begging, finally Alex Jones scored after a scrum turnover to make the score 19-3.

Beckenham scored another well-worked try when Andrew Knowles picked up off the base of an attacking scrum going blind to put Craig Thomson over for an easy score which was converted by Richards making it 26-3.

Johnson responded from a charge down with a long kick into the hosts’ territory followed by a hack on to win a footrace to the line and score a consolation try, which he converted off the upright.

Horsham’s head coach Nick Stocker said: “It was a disappointing result where our set piece did not function given the number of changes in personnel. In particular the scrum where we conceded significant weight and as a result lost this phase convincingly.

“With this platform Beckenham always had a source of clean possession and opportunities for penalties and territory which they used to good effect and the platform for three of their tries. The first was disappointing given the quick tap taken from well beyond the mark and the referee allowing this to stand.

“On the bright side, we fielded five 18 year olds who all performed well in difficult conditions and showed great spirit throughout which can be built upon.”

Horsham return to action after the Christmas break at home to Gravesend on January 5.

Horsham: Cass, T.Powell, N.Bell, Osgood, Redmayne, Smith, S.Powell, Everitt, Linfield, Blewitt, Nwachukwu, T.Johnson, Wilde, Condon, Double. Subs: Barber, O’Rahilly, Burchfield.