Burgess Hill Under 14s hosted Horsham in a storm league match on Sunday at Poveys Close.
Hill had been the victors the last 4 times the team had met and so Horsham were extremely pumped up for the game.
This became quickly apparent with the Horsham game plan quickly coming into play to pick and drive from the base of the breakdown.
Hillians struggled to stem the flow of Horsham possession and gave away a string of penalties giving Horsham lineout possession on the Hill 5m line.
Despite stemming the flow of several phases, the All Blacks defense ended up leaking a try after 8mins. The conversion missed it was 0-5.
The pattern of the match continued with Hill possession being turned over and Horsham driving hard into All Blacks lines.
Horsham had a scrum 20m away from the Hill line and drove hard from the base of the scrum. 2 quick phases and Horsham scored again. The kicker was not on target today so the score moved to 0-10.
Hill were still struggling with the Green intensity and a Hill runner was tackled on his own and the ball turned over. Some quick passes down the line and Horsham scored again. No extras and it was 0-15
Hill heads were down and concentration lacking and from the kick off the Horsham winger ran through a couple of weak tackles and scored in the corner. 0-20.
Hill were looking for half time and remained 2nd best in the match at the moment. Horsham held onto the ball and with the last play of the half and yet again some missed tackles, Horsham finished the half 0-25 up.
Hill rang the changes and swapped out 6 players who had watched an incredibly frustrating half and were chomping at the bit.
Hill’s new second row and back row immediately started to make the difference and pressured the Horsham close runners with some hard tackling. This resulted in turnover ball and Rogers playing at full back ran onto the ball and broke through to score just outside the posts.
Unfortunately, the conversion missed but Hill felt a significant momentum swing and the score was 5-25.
Newly introduced and eventual Back of the Match A. Baker straightened up the line and proved he is improving week by week. Bursting through the middle, he was tackled 10m short and the pop ball just knocked on but again Hill were in the right part of the pitch.
Pressure on the Horsham scrum started to tell and the pass from the Horsham scrum half was a bit loose. The subsequent knock on gave Hill and scrum and No.8 and Forward of the match H. Baker picked up from the base and drove over for the score. With the conversion by Rogers, the score moved to 12-25
Now the Hill tails were up and some strong and elusive running by the newly introduced Hill flanker Upton kept the momentum with Hill. Hill forced the knock on in the mid field and from the solid platform, center A. Baker received the ball and on a fabulous angle broke through and ran the half to score.
The Rogers conversion was given a little help by the posts but was successful and the score moved to 19-25 and an amazing come back was on the cards.
However time was running out and Horsham were determined not to throw away their lead completely.
Keeping the pressure on and with Hill still letting the Horsham ruck driving ball make ground, Horsham earned a line out in the Hill 5m line and the drive was successful for a try.
The extras missed but the score moved to 19-30.
Hill were fired up but running out of time. They kept bashing at the determined Horsham line and whenever Horsham had the ball, tackled hard and forced the scrum.
The ball was fed to Rogers now playing fly half and he stepped well and broke through. Running from mid field he was chased and forced wide and scored 20m wide of the posts.
The conversion missed and the score moved to 24-30.
The last 5 minutes was pressure from Horsham and Hill making mistakes. Hill then broke through again and made ground to the Horsham 22m area however, another knock on finished the game and Hill narrowly missed out with the final score being 24-30.
There was lots to learn both in attitude in not taking the opposition for granted as well as having confidence in our own ability.
Next week Hill travel for a tricky fixture at Pulborough in the next round of the storm league.
Todays squad was: MacAlister, Clegg, Cowle, Watts, Nelson, Kyalo, Thompson, H Baker, Harrison, Fox, Dale, Edlin, Bennett, Lessacher, Rogers, Attwater, Upton, Bailey, A Baker, Miller, Simonet.