Today would be the first real test for the U15 girls this season and came in the shape of Horsham RFC in game one of the National Cup. ORs have drawn the formidable Horsham as well as Worthing in the first pool stage of the Nationals and it was clear that if ORs were to beat Horsham, they would have to be on top form. Hit by a couple of injuries and a case of COVID, the original squad of 20 selected to play today were down to 18.
The game started off as a physical affair with both teams looking solid in defence and attack. No ground was given from either side but it was ORs that drew first blood with a powerful, straight run from Ella who forced her way through heavy traffic placing the ball down to open the scoring. The conversion attempt fell just short.
ORs dominated the next stage of the game, however, a number of sloppy penalties allowed Horsham to remain in contention and prevented ORs from stringing successful phases together and scoring. More penalties from ORs put them on the back foot and with momentum being lost, it allowed Horsham to start getting their hands of the ball and setting up camp in the ORs 22. It was only a matter of time and despite some great defensive play, Horsham managed to find a chink in the armour and scored a converted try putting them in the lead. The score would remain 5-7 to Horsham until half time.
Just like the first, the second half was tough for both teams. Neither side was prepared to give an inch and the match was finely in the balance. Despite being the smaller pack, ORs stood firm against the Horsham scrum and winning a number of balls against the head allowed the ORs backs to start running the ball wide and looking for a way to regain the lead. ORs began to turn up the heat and with crash ball after crash ball, they moved their way up the pitch. The ball finally found its way into Ella’s hands once more and another powerful drive saw her score her second of the match. ORs were back in the lead, albeit by the thinnest of margins.
Horsham were beginning to tire and ORs were spending more and more time in the opposition half but they were unable to turn the possession and pressure into points. Mistakes from both teams saw a number of turn overs with both teams having their hands on the ball but Horsham were just unable to find a way out of their own half. ORs win the ball back and Tilly, having seen some space on the outside made a break for the try line but in a desperate attempt to stop her, one of the Horsham defenders could only do so by yanking her pony tail, pulling Tilly to the ground. This resulted in a sin bin forcing Horsham to play the game out with only 14 players. With the sin bin, the last 10 minutes became a real war of attrition, with constant pressure being placed on Horsham by ORs. Phase after phase saw ORs knocking at the door but continued solid defence from Horsham prevented OR’s from crossing the line. However, the one player advantage started to take its toll on Horsham and with the ball spun out wide once more, Elsa made a dash for the try line and with only 10 metres to managed to ground the ball in the corner whilst fending off two defending players. The missed conversion then signalled the end of the game.
Horsham 7- Old Reigatian 15
What a game! What a result!
All spectators would agree that this is probably one of the finest games they’ve seen at this age group with the commitment and skill shown by every single player evident in bundle.