‘We’re a fear for teams when we turn up’ – Horsham head coach Nick Stocker is hoping his side are firing on all cylinders for their London 2 South East derby match with Hove on Saturday.
That verdict comes from reflecting on his side’s Intermediate Cup defeat to London Exiles at the weekend where the Green and Whites lost 37-27 to a side who currently sit fourth in the London 2 South West division.
Both sides went into the game in similar form with Horsham boasting more points from the same amount of games played.
Stocker made six changes to the side that lost 31-15 to Deal and Betteshanger, including the omission of Joe Wilde who scored all of Horsham’s points last week.
Tries from Mike Watts, Josh Steggles and Jordan Bell weren’t enough to see the Green and Whites through to the next round, despite Bell also kicking three conversions and two penalties.
Stocker felt the defeat was a missed opportunity and explained: “It’s been a lot more than just changing the side.
“If you look back we’ve had to change the squad considerably the past three weeks. Six changes two weeks ago, then eight the following week and then six again due to injuries and availability.
“This is a competition that we wanted to do well in, the league itself has had many finalists and winners, for example Charlton Park, who finished fourth in our division last year but currently sit one place above us, reached the final last year.
“I felt it was a good opportunity for us and I was hoping we would do a bit better but that’s the luck you receive from availabilities, there is not much you can control.”
The match appeared out of reach for the visitors as Bell’s try, Horsham’s third, and conversion came with only seven minutes left to play to pull the score to within ten points, but they failed to score again.
Despite the loss, Stocker is looking forward to their next match against Hove as his side are looking to end a run of two losses in all competitions.
He said: “Hove is always an interesting game with both sides trying to play expansive rugby, we beat them last season on their patch and then they beat us by one point on ours.
“Of course we did secure the win against them in last season’s cup final. They’re having a good season sitting currently in second place but the boys like playing Hove as both sides feel as though they have a chance of winning.”
Hove currently sit second in London 2 South East after seven wins and two losses, whereas their hosts on Saturday lie fifth after six wins and three losses and Stocker knows how tight this league can get.
He continued: “At the moment only one win separates five teams so it’s very close. We’re not targeting promotion, but we have the chance of altering the promotion race. Dartfordians are running away with it a little but we’re a fear for teams to play us when we turn up.”
Stocker and Horsham will be hoping training this week will be without the ‘problems due to injuries and availability’ as they hope they can give their fans something to cheer about against Hove.
Horsham: N.Bell, Fisher, Fairs, Goward, Maguire, Smith, Lowe, Tredgett, E.Mills, J.Bell, Steggles, Blewitt, Luxon, Layzell, Watts. Subs: Clarkson, O’Rahilly, J.Mills, Mallinder.