Horsham travelled to Reigate with a perfect return from their first three games including three try scoring bonus points. ORs however two loses and a comfortable home win certainly made the home team the underdog but early season league tables can give a distorted view of the quality of the teams and this game was never going to be a one sided fixture.
However Horsham did start the game well and came out the blocks looking dangerous with some powerful runners and good ball retention it was clear the Reigate team’s defence was going to have to stand firm against some solid runners. After about 5 minutes defending OR’s finally got hold off the ball and looking to move the ball quickly into the wider channels only for a Horsham back to intercept and run in under the posts and Reigatian’s found themselves 0-7 down.
However from the restart Horsham failed to collect the kick off out jumped by Max Coyle who recycled the ball quickly and two phases later Finn Coyle found himself in space and showed great pace that nobody get close to him and Finn scored his first try of the afternoon. Lucas Overtoom kicked the conversion from the touchline to draw the scores level 7-7 with ten minutes gone.
Suddenly OR’s had a worrying ten minutes firstly a clash of heads between two Reigatian forwards left one leaving the field for repairs and then in his second game back from a right shoulder injury Seb Courtney Walker left the field with his left shoulder injured and worrying lost meaning Dan Jones moved into the back row and Dan Grant joining play to partner Joe Gregson in the second row.
With both sides now restored to 15 men the Home team had a line out securely won the ball moved through the hands with fullback Tom Woodford making an extra man and score an excellent try in the corner again Overtoom slotted the extras to give a 14-7 lead.
As half time approached OR’s mounted another attack Finn Coyle appeared off his Wing to cut through the Horsham defence to score under the posts to give Overtoom an easy kick and OR’s find themselves with a healthy 21-7 lead.
With Horsham on the attack OR’s defence was holding firm when Gareth Stephens put in a big tackle in the mid field with a second defender joining the hit the ball carrier was slightly tipped when he hit the ground. The Referee reaching straight to his pocket and Stephens found himself in the technical area for ten minutes.
With a man advantage Horsham recognised the opportunity and attacked against the 14 men with their very dangerous left Winger finding some space to score under the posts leaving an easy conversion and the gap was 21-14.
The kick bought the first half to an end with Reigatian’s needing to hang on another eight minutes with a man down.
At the start of the second half with a similar start to the first half a tackle was missed midfield and Horsham were gifted an early try to make the scores 21-19.
The home side were quick to respond with Woodford making an excellent break and found Harrison Mitchell outside him who had the power to drag two defenders over the try line with him to move the score to 26-19.
12 minutes into the second half following a kick ahead Reigatian’s tried a speculative tap back looking for a support runner only for Horsham to collect the ball and move it with pace and managed to cross the tryline for another try. Closing the score to 26-24.
Play moved into Horsham half and ORs were awarded a penalty which Overtoom stepped up and moved ORs 5 points clear 29-24.
With the crowd really getting totally engrossed in the game the last twenty minutes were simply outstanding.
First strike to Horsham with a line out not far from the Reigatian try line it was always on the cards what they would try and do. Line out safely won the driving maul headed towards the line. Horsham big heavy pack did this very well and as hard as the ORs pack tried to stop it there was nothing they could do. With the try converted Horsham were in the lead for the first time since the 7th minute 29-31.
With 15 minutes left Reigatian ran the ball from they’re own half with forwards and back inter passing and keeping the ball alive Dan Grant appeared on Wing to give a great pass over his head to find Jack Baart who finished a great try, Overtoom added the extras 36-31.
Back to Horsham who managed to gain a line out again in the good attacking position everybody knew what was going to happen the maul started of towards the try line and again the home forwards gave it everything to keep them out but the maul crashed over but the conversion was missed. Ten minutes remain 36-36.
Again the Reigatian attack was launched and great handling between players with a complete disregard for the number on their back moved the team 50 meters down field and the ball finally ended up in Finn Coyle’s hands with his pace to claim his Hat Trick. The home side were celebrating under the posts extras added 43-36.
Time for one last attack and it was down the Coyle family to again break the Horsham hearts with Max making a great break down the right Wing and looked to be going himself with the Horsham defence closing in Ciaran Nestor was on his inside to claim the most popular of scorers and finally claim all 5 points and win 50-36.
A great advert for the sport with contrasting styles of play both teams knew what worked for them and it was great entertainment
1.Toby Collister 2. Ciaran Nestor 3. Reilly Franklin-Talbot,4.Joe Gregson, 5. Dan Jones, Sam Foreman, 7.Jack Baart 8. Seb Courtney-Walker 9. Harry Serjeant 10.Lucas Overtoom 11. Harrison Mitchell 12. Gareth Stephens 13. Max Coyle, 14. Finn Coyle, 15. Tom Woodford 16. Hamish Broderick 17. Dan Grant 18.Ben Holder
Photos by John Baart.