Green and Whites looking like their former selves again

Horsham Rugby Club v Hove - Arun Thompson runs in to score. Picture by Warwick Baker
Horsham Rugby Club v Hove - Arun Thompson runs in to score. Picture by Warwick Baker

Head coach Nick Stocker felt his side looked like the Horsham of old as they got their London 2 South East campaign up and running with victory away to old adversaries Hove.

After a start disrupted by them losing a couple of players to illness, including captain Tom Johnson, the Green and Whites dug deep to record their fourth successive league and cup victory over Hove in less than 12 months.

Hove were 12-0 up after 15 minutes, but Horsham came back with tries from Jonny Whiting, James Layzell and Arun Thompson plus three conversions and a penalty from Will Bell to grind out the win in a gutsy display, despite a 72nd-minute Hove try.

Stocker said: “We did not have the best of preparation which consisted of a couple of players falling ill before kick-off including Tom Johnson, our skipper.

“There was a little shuffling to do and it took some time to adjust in regards to our defensive structures. I am really pleased how we fought back despite the lack of a promising start.

“We started to turn possession to territory by the time we were 24-12 up in the second half and were rather unfortunate not to score a fourth try of our own, from one of the best attacking moves this season.

“It was one of those things that we struggled last week, but one or two things were put right.

“The possession was better and we looked after the ball and looked like the Horsham of old despite having a number of changes.”

With the visitors adjusting to their last-minute changes, a number of missed tackles saw Hove in under the posts for a converted try on eight minutes.

A Bell kick was then charged down and placed behind the whitewash for a 12-0 home lead.

Horsham then hit back on 31 minutes Johnny Whiting went over from a driven line-out and Bell converted.

Then then added a second push over try by Layzell and converted by Bell minutes later.

Hove missed an early penalty attempt in the second half, before Thompson burst through to score after multiple phases, with Bell’s extra making the score 21-12.

Bell added another three points on 71 minutes, before Hove completed the scoring with an unconverted try out wide.

Stocker added: “George Palmer and Canice Gonzague have stepped up from the colts and down very well in what is a very young back three.

“They have worked hard in defence and looked good with the ball in hand.

“There was also a very good performance from the front row with Giles Barber coming up from the Lions to captain the side.”

The Green and Whites are back in action at home this weekend as they host, Bromley in a 3pm kick-off.

Horsham: Brady, Stone, Barber, Johnny Whiting, Clarkson, O’Rahilly, Thompson, Harcus, Layzell, Wilde, Palmer, Ordidge, James Whiting, Gonzague, W.Bell, Smith, N.Bell.

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