The first league game of the season saw the Black Horse take on newly promoted Southgate at Hertford. After a good run out the week before and good numbers for the game the horse were confident of getting the season off to a good start.
The game started evenly, with both sides moving forward and defending well. After only 10 minutes a serious injury to Tom Irving saw the horse reshuffle their team and this affected the flow of the game. Southgate took advantage and one of their numerous big men broke through the black horse defensive line to score the first try of the game. This rattled the horse and they fought back strong. The forwards kept picking and going, gaining yard after yard until Moj Abdul managed to burrow his way over the line. Adrian Lee converted to make the score 7-7. This try then sparked Southgate in to action and their number 10 broke away to go under the posts. Once again the horse fought back, the forwards carrying the ball up the pitch. When the ball did get out to the backs they made good use of it, with Ben Brown taking a clever switch off Adrian Lee and making his way to the try line. The ref ordered a penalty which Kingsley Hovell took quick to dummy his way over the try line.
The horse then suffered the first front row injury of the day and this affected the momentum the horse had gained. A good move from Southgate saw them spread the ball out wide and the ball was eventually touched down and then converted to leave the score 19-12 at half time.
The horse made some changes at half time and started the second half the stronger side. Chris Foy was all over the pitch and with Isaac Aitken getting stuck in at number 9 the horse got the ball forward. The ball ended up out on the right hand side of the pitch and Kingsley Hovell dummied numerous men to step inside and score his second try of the game. The game was evenly poised at this point, with the score 19-19.
The horse were rocked by another injury, this time to Moj Abdul and the game went to uncontested scrums. Southgate used this to their advantage, first of all kicking a penalty and then scoring and converting a try to leave them 29-19 up. The game could have been loss for the horse at this point but the team fought back immediately. A great kick off from Adrian Lee saw Russell Dee win the ball before the Southgate player and a couple of plays later Adrian Lee himself then received the ball to power over the tryline.
The horse were fired up and only 3 points behind Southgate with ten minutes to go. Southgate were tried and gaps were opening up for the horse in wide positions. The ball went out to Michael Breeze on the wing who cut inside to find Tom Allan coming through from centre. It looked like he’d go all the way but at the last minute he found Isaac Aitken inside of him to take the ball over the line. The horse led 31-29 and managed to hold on for the last five minutes to secure their first win of the season.
Next week see’s the horse go away to Old Grammerians, hoping to continue the promising start to the season (hopefully with less injuries!)
MOM: Isaac Aitken
WOM: Neil McDonald