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

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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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Horsham Rugby Club pay tribute to 'a great character and a great bloke'

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Horsham Rugby Club have paid tribute to former player Richard Loughran after he died on Monday.

Loughran played for the Green and Whites from the late 1970s to the late 80s.

Horsham’s Richard Ordridge said: “We heard the news yesterday (Monday) of Richard’s passing. Whilst not a total shock, because he had suffered a severe stroke two years ago, it was still a sad reminder of the loss of someone we remember being so full of vitality in his prime. After a difficult time at least he is now at peace.

“At Horsham Rugby Club, where he is fondly remembered as a maverick talent, he was a brilliant rugby player and such fun to play with.

“Richard loved playing champagne style rugby allowing his individual match winning brilliance to shine. He was also a talented cricketer.

“A personal memory from my early playing days in the 1st XV was the unselfish way he would put me into space and hand me tries on a plate to just run in and score!

“Tributes have also been flooding in from his former pupils at Forest School where he was regarded as an inspirational English teacher and mentor, and widely regarded as a great character and a good bloke.

“A great man who will be missed by us all.”

The Green and Whites will hold a minute’s silence for Loughran before their home game against Beckenham on Saturday.

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Horsham begin life in new division with narrow derby defeat

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Horsham encountered an intensity from Chichester seldom faced last season as they fell to a 39-30 defeat at their Sussex rivals in their first game in London 1 South East on Saturday.

Despite their ten-match winning run in the league, stretching back to December, coming to an end the Green and Whites can take plenty of positives.

Tom Johnson slotted an early penalty before Horsham conceded a try from quick phase play.

Johnson scored a second penalty, awarded after a good carry by Jamie Redmayne, but Chi countered with their second try following a break in the centres, which was well converted, to lead 12-6 after 18 minutes.

Johnson pegged back the lead with another penalty before Chichester maintained their nine-point advantage with a drop goal.

Horsham conceded a third following poor ball retention near their try line and a subsequent poor clearance kick as the hosts went into the break 22-9 up.

At the restart Horsham conceded a further try. After poorly receiving the kick-off a penalty was conceded and kicked to the corner. Chi scored from the driving maul to lead 29-9.

The entry of Vince Everitt and Nick Bell added impetus to Horsham’s play and the comeback started following a run and kick through from Johnson which was well chased by Everitt to score.

Joe Wilde then added a further try following a devastating break by Declan Nwachukwu from a kick to narrow the deficit to 29-23 after an hour.

But Chichester scored a converted try before Finlay Hillicks was yellow carded. Wilde scythed through the gap to set up Nwachukwu to score, converted by Johnson, to make it 36-30 with ten minutes to go.

The hosts then kicked a penalty on the stroke of full time meaning the visitors came away with nothing.

Horsham head coach Nick Stocker said: “Although a disappointing result, we are certainly focusing on the positives from a closely fought game with a good degree of fight demonstrated by all players taking the field.

“Our set piece went well both at scrum and lineout and when we finally got into our patterns we created several opportunities which, on another day, would have seen a different outcome.

“The problem however was a relatively slow start and gifting possession in dangerous positions which lead to a considerable half-time deficit.

“Our usual fluidity in the backs was lacking, both in attack and defence. However, when the players settled and we started to move the ball with more precision in the last 20 minutes, we had Chichester worried.

“Our team will learn quickly from this first game and look to bounce back with a win at home over promoted Beckenham.”

Horsham will hold a minute’s silence before their home fixture against Beckenham on Saturday in memory of former player Richard Loughran who passed away on Monday.

Horsham: Watts; Nwachukwu, Wilde, Johnson, Condon, J Bell, Linfield, Cass, Preston, Fairs (N Bell), Whiting (Goward), Osgood, Redmayne Smith (Everitt), Hillicks.

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Promoted Horsham headed into uncharted waters as they begin life in new division

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As preparations ahead of the new season draw to a close, the sense of excitement is palpable as Horsham take steps into London 1 South and the uncharted waters this new league presents.

The squad has been bolstered by several new players – a combination of returnees from university, players joining from other local clubs and talented youngsters stepping up from their hugely successful mini and junior sections.

Combined with the retention of last season’s successful squad, Horsham have managed to have a successful summer and the three pre-season games have demonstrated that the coaching staff will face selection dilemmas on a weekly basis.

Whilst many teams boast a combination of youth and experience, Horsham on the other hand have a young squad and whilst many observers will consider this a disadvantage, this youthful squad belies a fiercely competitive spirit, a will to work hard at their game and a rugby nous.

Horsham are under no illusions that this season will be a step up, but they will embrace the challenge wholeheartedly and look to play in a style that is true to their principles of fast attacking rugby.

This year, the Lions will be playing in the Surrey Premier League which promises to test the squad on a weekly basis and provide much needed competition for those players who miss out on selection for the first team.

With teams like Camberley, Cobham, Dorking and Rosslyn Park in the league, the season will certainly demand consistency in availability, training and performance if they are to do well.

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London 1 South finished with a particularly close climax last season with Brighton sneaking into the play-off position ahead of Camberley and Medway in the final match last year. Whilst without relegated teams from London South East Premier, this year will undoubtedly prove as competitive.

With four promoted teams, each with their own aspirations and levels of confidence, a league transfer in the form of HAC and heavily advertised recruitment from the likes of Westcombe Park and Camberley, the challenge is obvious. Combined with the perennial challenge of Medway and some resurgent teams in the forms of Thurrock and Havant, it is without doubt going to provide stern weekly tests.

Horsham start the season with an interesting match up away against Sussex rivals Chichester with whom they have had a fierce rivalry over several seasons but only now returning to play at first team level.

They will additionally renew acquaintances with Dartfordians with whom they have had great matches both at London 3 and London 2 in the past.

Similarly, Horsham will renew acquaintances with Medway. Horsham fierce matches when Medway suffered an administrative relegation a couple of seasons ago. The chance to gauge the development of Horsham as a team in the intervening seasons is a great incentive to perform well against one of the league favourites.

Horsham will understandably be looking to consolidate in the new league, but they believe that they have the ability to cause an upset here or there.

This season will also showcase the good work that has been undertaken at Horsham over the last three to five years including the installation of the artificial grass pitch, the building of new changing rooms, the creation of a new members bar, the development of ladies and girls rugby and the growth of playing numbers across the sections.

All in all, rugby at Horsham is in a vibrant state and now that the season is upon us, it promises to be an exciting season.

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