Pulborough captain targets five wins for safety after derby defeat to Horsham

Horsham v Pulborough Rugby SR1726057 - Frazer Oliphant-Hope. Pic Steve Robards SUS-171228-105917001

Pulborough captain Simon Burfiend believes his side will now need to win their remaining five games to ensure London 2 South East safety after a derby defeat to Horsham on Saturday.

The Green and Whites ran out 24-17 winners at Freelands, having trailed at 7-0 at half-time to climb up to fourth in the division.

While they target a top-four finish, for second-bottom ‘Borough they have five games to save their place in the league.

They are 15-points behind third-from bottom Heathfield & Waldron, and having won just three times all season, Burfiend now wants a winning run to secure their safety.

He said: “Looking forward we have five games remaining all of which are against teams who are lower down in the league.

“It’s looking as though we will need five wins to stay up and catch Heathfield & Waldron, who have a much harder run, in comparison. If we can continue this momentum forward all is still to play for.”

On Saturday, the battle at the breakdown was quickly refereed out of the game with penalties resulting whenever a player attempted to counter attack at a ruck.

As Ollie Coombe-Tennant found out after he was issued a yellow card for a cynical obstruction at the breakdown, but Pulborough felt Horsham should have also been down to 14 after a stamp.

With a break and kick ahead from deep within the ‘Borough half the pressure was piled upon Horsham’s line and the pressure resulted in a yellow card for the big Horsham lock.

Opting for the scrum, ‘Borough made use of the extra man with Guy Baxter, Charlie Denman and Matt Blunden grinding away at the opposition. With a penalty advantage in the bank, Ciaran Keating quickly picked up and darted over the line for a try which was converted.

For the remainder of the half both teams struggled to assert any dominance. The flow was fairly evenly spread and largely dictated by some interesting calls from the official.

At the start of the second half, more penalties went against the home side which allowed Horsham to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

The first Horsham try also came from a penalty as a deft-chip kick over the defence, caused confusion in the back line. Horsham regathered and sent the ball out wide for a walk in the corner by the winger.

Two further tries followed, both well worked in the midfield by both forwards and backs alike to engineer some space for the winger to use his pace and touch down for a 24-7 lead.

Still with plenty of time on the clock, Burfiend gave a pop to Frazer Oliphant-Hope charging in on the short line and breaking between the shoulders of two Horsham defenders to touch down under the posts for a simple conversion. But ‘Borough were not able to find that final elusive try, despite some gallant efforts at running the ball out of their own 22m.

Burfiend added: “The game was played in great spirits, with the boys really putting in a strong display against a well-established Horsham team.

“The result is a positive but also frustrating in a number of ways as well. Firstly, to come within a losing bonus point meant we were tantalisingly close to coming away with more, and I know some views from the side were that decisions in the game went against us.

“However, the other is that we managed to field a strong side this week, trained well and the efforts showed on the field.

“There are no excuses as to why this shouldn’t happen every week from now on.”

Pulborough: Blunden, Denman, Baxter, Williams, Goring, Bullock, Coombe-Tennant, Short, Keating, Burfiend, Miller, Game, Oliphant-Hope, Callaway, Haynes. Sub: Dicks.

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