Burgess Hill Under 14s Vs Horsham
On Friday evening, the Burgess Hill U14s were invited up to Horsham for a friendly match under floodlights on their new 4G pitch. Having had a narrow victory over Horsham in a league match earlier in the season, a close match was expected.
However, after some early steals and turnovers from both teams, it was BH who sustained more pressure and speed of movement. Horsham put a high kick up the field for full back Miller to take a great catch and put in a 30m break, followed by a 10m gain from Thompson. Good forward support from Kyalo and MacAlister led to two quick rucks and it was fly half Larder who found a gap in the middle to break through and score under the post. Harrison duly converted for a 7-0 lead.
The BH tails were up and after a great turnover from flanker Upton, the ball was recycled and prop Edlin broke through the middle again for a 40m score under the posts which was again converted for a 14-0 lead.
The boys were now looking really slick and great interplay between winger Bennett, full back Miller and centre A Baker opened up the Horsham defence to enable Larder to finish off some fine play. Conversion missed but with a score of 19-0, Hillians were looking unstoppable.
But we know Horsham wouldn’t just give up and their forwards really upped their game to start competing better at rucks. A good break was halted a few meters from the line after a great tackle by Miller, only for a silly penalty to be given away. Horsham took it quickly before Hill could reorganise and found space to score in the corner. The conversion missed for 19-5.
It was now the turn of Horsham to have their tails up and put some real pressure on the All Blacks line. This was the Horsham we knew as they held great shape and spread the ball quickly along their lines to create another overlap and another score in the corner, 19-10.
It was now all Horsham as Hill started making some uncharacteristic handling errors in the cold conditions and Horsham smothering the BH backs before they could get any speed up. Horsham kicked a penalty to the corner and sustained a lengthy period of mauls in attack. This was initially repelled by Hill close to their line, with front row of MacAlister, Clegg and Edlin accompanied by ever present flanker Upton putting in some sterling defensive work. However, Horsham finally forced their way over in the corner to go in a half time 19-15 down.
With the momentum all in Horsham’s favour it was an important half time talk from the BH coaches Clegg and Dale and it had the desired effect as BH came out looking switched on in second half.
A great move and slick handling between wingers Lessacher, centre Clyde, winger Bennett and back row H Baker made 40m but a great tackle from Horsham full back led to a spill and a counter attack. However, a powerful tackle from Thompson led to a spill and turnover to finally give Bennett the space he had been looking for all match to leave the Horsham defence in his wake and he sped under the posts.
Scrum half Harrison again converted to open up a 26-15 lead.
A short time later, as Hill started exerting real scrum pressure, a quick pass from Harrison to Clyde again opened up the Horsham midfield defence. Frustratingly for Horsham, they stopped this attack in its tracks but threw an intercepted pass to A Baker who needed no invitation to burst free from half way line to again score under the posts for another converted try, 33-15.
Just as it looked as if BH would run away with the match, Horsham responded magnificently with a never beaten attitude. It was third time lucky for Horsham as they turned over after a break from H Baker and produced a fast flowing counter attack to score a well worked try in the corner. 33-20
This really energised Horsham who upped their intensity, their forwards beginning to steal and hustle the BH backs again and force handling errors. They got a nudge on the scrum, released their fast backs and once again showed great ability to move the ball wide, and go around the Hill narrow defence to score for the 5th time in the corner, 33-25.
There was no time for more so this enthralling match ended on 5 tries a piece, but BH benefitting from scoring all their tries through midfield breaks under the posts and slotting 4 conversions.
A great advert for boys rugby and a great opportunity for BH to play under floodlights on a 4G pitch. It definitely led to a faster paced game and an entertaining one to watch.
In his first outing as full back, Miller was an outstanding Back of the Match with several high ball takes and counter attacks. Upton’s speed off of the flank of the scrum to hassle the Horsham scrum half and fly half was instrumental in creating space for the BH backs and led him to a deserved Forward of the Match.
That’s the last of the rugby action for the boys in 2018 but the Christmas “ten pin bowling followed by pizza” takes place next Saturday.