U14s defeat Horsham
By Simon Luxton
Scrappy victory away from home to improving Horsham side
This was our third trip to Horsham this season which turned out to be a rather scrappy affair in which brute strength and determination were key factors. Elliott Vincent led from the front, hitting ruck after ruck, giving 100% on behalf of his team-mates.
Our previous two encounters at Horsham had finished 0-47 and 0-38, and perhaps complacency and a lack of focus from the boys was inevitable, despite warnings from the coaching team. We struggled at the breakdown due to not committing enough players, and lacked the speed and urgency needed to get to the tackle area first.
However the game was fairly level and some much improved passing from Elliott Martin Drew at scrum-half allowed us to move the ball wide where Toby Hawes was on hand to show great pace to run in 2 tries round the outside to give us a 0-10 lead.
Despite falling behind, Horsham continued to play a well-structured game, turning over breakdown after breakdown, winning scrums against the head and disrupting our line-out. Full credit to Horsham on how they continued to battle to get back into the game.
For the second game in a row, a lack of accuracy and discipline was causing us huge problems. It is so difficult to gain any control when you keep giving away possession via handling errors or penalties conceded for indiscipline. We need to remember to release the ball quickly in the tackle, stay onside at the breakdown and play within the rules.
Horsham gained territory by kicking several penalties to touch and got themselves back into the game via a quick tap and go from yet another penalty conceded and they kicked the conversion for 7-10 at half-time. You could feel the confidence growing in the Horsham side and we had to call on character and determination to stay in the game.
Horsham pressed hard at the beginning of the second half and eventually forced over the line after a couple of missed tackles from the East Grinstead lads. The home crowd cheered wildly as their side took the lead 12-10.
Backs against the wall moments are when you learn most about yourself and your team-mates and the East Grinstead boys didn’t let themselves down. They fought hard to get back into the game, with strong runs from Jack Morrison, Cameron Beeney and Jacob James.
Then there are special moments which can be the difference between winning and losing. Eoin O’Donoghue stepped up, seizing the opportunity to break through the midfield to score a runaway try to turn the tide. 12-15 with five minutes to go. Some good kicking out of hand by Zach Collins, kept the game in the Horsham half until the final whistle.
It was a tough encounter where we made far too many errors collectively, combined with a greatly improved Horsham performance which left us all feeling frustrated despite the winning result. Lots to learn from in advance of next week’s game away to Crowborough.
Man of the Match: Elliott Vincent. Sets very high standards, always gives 100% and leads by example with strong rucking, ball carrying and fierce tackling. Well done Elliott