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Seventh straight league win coming at Dover gives Horsham an improved play-off shot



Horsham increased their chances of achieving a play-off place for promotion with a comfortable 21-69 win away at Dover.

The Green and Whites made it seven consecutive league wins and were the only side in the top three to win on Saturday.

Whilst Beckenham’s march to the title has slowed in recent weeks they are still overwhelming favourites to win the league despite their defeat at Haywards Heath, however the surprise was Charlton Park losing at Deal & Betteshanger.

Horsham have not won at Dover before, with the Kent side having historically played in higher leagues, and the Green and Whites throwing away a winning position in the closing stages of the game last season.

With both teams missing several of their regular starting line-up due to injury and unavailability, there was an air of anticipation at The Crabble.

An explosive start saw five tries scored in the first 16 minutes without reply, three of which were converted by Joe Wilde.

The kick-off was secured and after several phases left and right, Kyle Fairs hit a line on the burst to score in the first minute.

Pressure play then saw the ball retained and eventually spun to Sam Hampson to finish strongly for his first try.

With Horsham attacking in waves, a fine break by Mike Watts saw the ball recycled and an eventual pick and go by both props was finished by Fairs burrowing in over for his second try.

A good attack from the kick-off and excellent distribution from Jordan Bell saw Watts break and put Mathieu Pecharman away to score, then a length of the field try was completed by Pecharman outstripping the defence from 40 metes out after a good carry and offload by Emmet O’Rahilly.

After a period of pressure from Dover, a penalty was awarded and O’Rahilly quickly tapped to score under the posts and then Vince Everitt crossed the line with a strong carry after a quick tap by Aaron Linfield.

With seven first-half tries, five of which were converted by Wilde, Horsham went into the half-time break leading 45-0 with the result effectively secured.

It was difficult in the second half for Horsham to play with the same intensity as the game became more loose and less disciplined, but the Green and Whites still scored four further tries whilst a spirited Dover team never gave up and scored three good tries of their own.

Strong multi-phase play saw Hampson run in following a good line by Jonny Whiting, then a fine multiple phase attack from a kick return by Watts saw an eventual finish by Whiting.

Jamie Redmayne scored following several attack phases with great support and the scoring was completed when Jack Osgood powered through from 30 metres out following Dan Cass securing turnover ball.

Horsham head coach Nick Stocker said: “We started brightly and killed the game off in the first quarter which meant the challenge to the team was to maintain focus and try to play our patterns. On the whole this was achieved although as expected, we did occasionally become loose given the score line.

“The pace in the team caused problems all day and with the support runners readily available, we managed to keep the ball alive when in attack leading to some excellent team tries.

“The players that stepped up in the absence of regular first team starters all did extremely well.

“Despite several good performances from players like Nick Bell, skipper for the day Jamie Redmayne and Adam Clarkson, man of the match went to converted hooker, Kyle Fairs who hit his lineouts well, carried strongly and helped himself to two great tries to cap off a fine performance.

“With another week off next weekend, we head into the final three matches of the season with a tough home match against Sussex rivals Haywards Heath in a league and cup doubleheader on March 23.”

Horsham: Watts, Pecharman, Wilde, Condon, Hampson, J.Bell, Linfield, N.Bell (Cass), Fairs, Earle, Clarkson, Osgood, Redmayne, Everitt (Whiting), O’Rahilly (Powell).

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human interest

Horsham Rugby Club gets 3 more years of support from sponsor



Horsham Rugby Club has announced the renewal of its main sponsor for a further three years.

Sussex-based home builder Thakeham will display its distinctive black and white lion branding on new rugby shirts to be worn by the 1st XV, 2nd XV and every mini age group from under seven up to under 12.

Thakeham, with its head office in Billingshurst, has already been a sponsor at the club for a number of years. The construction group is one of the South East’s fastest growing developers.

Last year, Thakeham was acknowledged with a place in the ‘The Sunday Times Virgin Atlantic Fast Track 100’ list. This prestigious league table ranks Britain’s 100 fastest-growing companies over the last three years and is published in the Sunday Times each December.

| READ MORE: Horsham church celebrates 125th anniversary |

Thakeham is actively engaged with local charities and promotes opportunities for former armed forces veterans. Thakeham also sponsors other community sports teams including Billingshurst Cricket Club.

Robert Boughton, Thakeham group managing director, said: “As a regional home builder, we know all about the importance of thriving local communities. Sports teams play an important part in building and maintaining the fabric of those communities.

“That’s why we are so pleased to support Horsham Rugby Club and be the club’s main sponsor for the next three years.”

Horsham RUFC plays their home games at Coolhurst Ground, Hammerpond Road, Horsham, and currently has 400 playing members ranging from Under 7 to three Senior (adult) teams.

The 1st XV rugby team has won the Bob Rogers Sussex Cup six years in succession and secured promotion via a play-off to the highest level in the club’s history.

The 2019-20 season will see the 1st XV team play in London 1 South, the Lions 2nd XV cross county lines to play in the Surrey Premiership and the Barbarians 3rd XV play in Sussex 3.

Nick Stocker will continue as head coach assisted by Richard Bell, Adam Halsey and Johnny Porter.

Horsham Rugby Club’s vice-chairman and commercial manager Richard Ordidge said: “We are delighted to announce that Thakeham will remain as the main sponsor of Horsham Rugby Club for the next three years during a period of unrivalled success for the club.

“Sponsorship is vital to the club; it helps us fund the maintenance and improvement of our facilities, which is essential as we strive to run a successful and well thought of rugby club.

“We have a strong responsibility to our members and are keen to attract local talent of all ages.”

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rugby union

Green and Whites lift Bob Rogers Cup for sixth time with victory over Hastings & Bexhill



Horsham lifted the Bob Rogers Cup for a staggering sixth consecutive time on Saturday.

Despite a disjointed performance from Horsham against lower ranked league side Hastings & Bexhill, they eased to a 31-3 victory at East Grinstead.

Bob Rogers Cup Final - Apr 2019

Bob Rogers Cup Final – Apr 2019

The Green and Whites were able to rest several 1st XV regulars on the bench and they also had to deal with blustery conditions which didn’t help Horsham’s fluency with a much changed side.

Nevertheless, the victory was a comfortable one as they once again lifted the silverware which has very much become at home at Horsham.

Head coach Nick Stocker said: “The performance did not reach the heights that we have seen in recent weeks.

“After the emotional high of securing promotion two weeks ago, multiple changes and, more disappointingly, a possible touch of complacency meant we only managed to deliver a spluttering performance.

“In the face of a motivated Hastings & Bexhill side playing in their first Bob Rogers Cup final, we did not look after the ball enough, were not smart in the use of the ball and lacked some physicality at the breakdown and in the tackle.

“That said, on those occasions that we did look after the ball, and went through some phases, we scored good tries and ultimately this was the difference between both sides – our ability to convert opportunities presented.

“Regardless of the performance, it was a great way to end the season – securing the Bob Rogers Cup for a sixth successive time on top of promotion to London 1.

“With promotion, our first team will not be eligible to defend the trophy next season with the Lions now needing to step up to do the honours. If their performance at London Irish is anything to go by, they will surely do the club proud next year.”

Horsham led after three minutes when Aaron Linfield broke after a turnover ball and Mathieu Pecharman was in support to score, Joe Wilde, on kicking duties, added the extras.

Wilde then put over a penalty, before Bexhill & Hastings hit back with one of their own on 23 minutes.

Pecharman then finished off a multiple-phases move for a converted try and Jonny Whiting also scored before half-time to give Horsham a 19-3 lead.

Hastings missed two penalties at the start of the second half and Horsham rung the replacements before they scored again on 65 minutes through Josh Earle.

Jordan Bell then wrapped things up from a quick tap penalty with Wilde adding the extras.

Horsham: Earle (N.Bell 66), Powell (Fairs 50), Barber, Clarkson (Osgood 50), Goward, Smith, O’Rahilly, Whiting, Linfield (Johnson 40), J.Bell, Pecharman (Bebiano 66), Ordidge, Wilde, Condon (Nwachukwu 60), Watts.

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rugby union

Club is ‘immensely proud’ as Pulborough girls set up another national final date



For the third time in four years the Pulborough under-18 girls have made it to the national final of the RFU U18 National Cup proving that they are leading the way in Sussex.

The girls have tasted success before having been previous winners of the National Cup twice before; in 2015/16 and last year in 2017/18.

On Sunday, May 5, the talented team will face Mansfield in the final at Premiership side Worcester’s ground at Six Ways.

The team have achieved it this year by becoming County Champions, then by beating Sutton & Epsom (30-12) in the south east area final and then overcoming both Reading (21-12) and Winscombe (12-0) in the south of England semi-final played at Cheshunt.

The team is coached by John Breach, father of England’s Red Roses Jess Breach – a former Pulborough player herself, Kelly Russell and Keith Beckley and managed by Steve Summers.

The under-18’s squad consists of some 32 girls strong and is headed by two girls with England Sevens experience, Lauren Fisher and Flo Robinson.

However, every one of the girls has contributed to the team’s success this season from the youngest and newest girls who came up from the under-15s this year to the older more established players in their third year in the squad.

Pulborough club president Alex Steele and chairman Alan Nye both commented: “The whole Pulborough club are immensely proud of the girls.

“Once again this year and have been completely awestruck by the skills, running ability, physicality and intensity of the rugby the team has produced this season.”

The whole Pulborough community are all hoping for a third win for this talented group of young ladies.

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