THIRD TEAM WIN LAST LEAGUE GAME OF SEASON
By Doug Millen
By Nick Baker
THIRD TEAM WIN LAST LEAGUE GAME OF SEASON
Naughty boy Mr Mason
Following a hard fought loss in their last game the Third team squad assembled at Hampshire Avenue for their last league game of the season against Horsham in a confident but cautious frame of mind, due to the fact that Horsham do sometimes have a tendency to bring in one or two second team players!!!! With the league still up for grabs we knew a win was a must. We welcomed back Tom Parsons to the fold to replace Nigel and had a backline with an average age in the twenties, so we had a good mixture of youth and experience.
Worryingly the first two Horsham players to arrive looked suspiciously fit and athletic. Luckily though, their Seconds had a league game so the rest of the Horsham lads who turned up looked more like third team players, so we knew it was going to be a good game.
Following a better than usual warm up and run through, the staring fifteen took the field keen to start strongly, which they did with some excellent running and link up play from forwards and backs alike. Our scrum too was hugely impressive with Coxy, PB and Voigt really dominating their opposite numbers, meaning we won a fair few against the head and generally dominated the scrum all day.
After a couple of good chances were wasted, a good kick through from Dom Smith at 9 resulted in a 5m scrum. Whilst I’m not a betting man, I think I could safely have put my money on what happened next, as Mr Flinn picked and drove over the line. One of the best photos of the day (see club website) is of their ten’s face as he clearly sees Flinny’s evil grin and realises he’s the only man left to make a saving tackle (he didn’t). Conversion from Dave who had a fantastic game in his new position of full back meant it was 7 – 0 and looking promising.
More strong running from the newly svelte Mr Reed meant we were soon back in Horsham’s half and it want long before some more strong forward driving saw rolling maul push Horsham back over their line for Mr Voigt to claim the score. Dave slotted another nice conversion and at 14 – 0 the decent size crowd sensed more was to come.
Horsham came back strong and their young number 20 playing his first game of senior rugby was really causing a nuisance at the breakdowns. However, try as they might, some superb tackling from among others Tom Parsons, Freddie Barret, Big Tom Davis and Harry Edwards kept them at bay and all the while our forwards we remaking big carries into their defence, off loading at will to supporting runners.
Eventually the pressure told and the hard work of the forwards meant Fliiny was able to dot down for try number 28 of the season (he’s promised to talk us through all of them at he club dinner so get your tickets now!!!) 21 – 0 and the team was in the mood for more.
Sadly it was at this point that the otherwise excellent Mr Voigt managed to disgrace himself in front of his watching daughter and grand-children. After some lovely hands from PB, Freddie and Flinny, Mr Voight burst through the Horsham tackles and found himself with what appeared to everyone watching was simple run to the line. It was at this point that Mr Voigt decided that rather than run straight to the line, he would veer off at an alarming 45 degree angle and head straight towards the startled Horsham full back, who, having already given up on trying to get across to make the tackle, was visibly shocked to suddenly find Voigty charging rhinoceros like at him. Fair play to the full back who managed to bring Voigty down and earn his team a scrum for a knock on. Fair play also to the crowd many of whom offered Voigty kind words of encouragement and advice for him to consider!!!
The fourth and final try of the day arrived courtesy of a lovely weaving run by Lee Russell, who beat a number of would be tacklers with a mixture of speed and snakelike hips before scoring under the posts. Dave knocked another over and the half time score was 28-0.
A few changes in the forwards at half time saw Adam (after he took his glasses off) come on for Big Tom, Mr Mason relieve Mr Cox, Angry Mike Teague give PB a blow and Gorgeous Gordon take time off from holidaying to slide into the back row for Tom Parsons, who moved to the centres, allowing Jack who had a great game to rest his poorly shoulder. Also in the backs, PB’s son Sam came on to the wing for Lee.
Sadly the changes caught us a bit cold and the first score of the second half was by Horsham, when their centre broke through and scored under the posts.
Fortunately, this sparked us into life and after more strong runs from Mr Reed, Harry barnstormed his way over, after smashing a few would be tacklers out the way 33 -5. Mr Flinn soon bagged his hat trick with another barrelling run (40 -5).
Our next try was definitely one of the best we have scored all year. Great hands and support saw the ball being off loaded a number of times, before quick hands from Freddie and Kai put Dave in space, who showed good speed to outsprint the cover tackles to score under the sticks. From the kick off, we went from the sublime to the ridiculous as a wayward pass from Freddie was fly-hacked, missed, dropped, probably knocked on until Kai finally decided enough was enough and scored out wide. No conversion, but the game was now in the bag
Dave’s second try of the day arrived not long after, following a dropped pass by a Horsham player and what looked like a little bit of a knock on by a Bognor player, the ball was hacked through by Freddie, who then showed really good speed to run straight past the bouncing ball (Again, please see photos on website) leaving Dave to pick up and score.
Sadly at this point Mr Mason disgraced himself by getting sinbinned for failing to punch an opponent!!! A little bit of handbags saw angry Mike come storming into the melee to protect his smaller comrades, only for the referee to decide that it was Mr Mason who was the transgressor and issuing a yellow card to a slightly bemused Lee, who trooped off the field protesting his innocence. Even from the side-line it looked like Mr Mason was trying to be the peace-maker, but fortunately no damage was done as the scrums were already uncontested and Mr Voigt had already secured Dick of the Day.
Horsham then nicked another try, which they deserved for their hard work and effort.
Clearly inspired by others, Mr Collins then took it onto himself to start a fight with the oldest player on the Horsham team. Fortunately, neither fighter was able to land a knock-out blow and the game re-started without the ref having to get involved.
There was a tenth try but I can’t remember who scored and no one has claimed it, so I can’t write about it. Final score 66 -12 to us to give us real confidence going into the Final next weekend.
Overall, a decent win and one in which we played some lovely rugby at times, with the backs, who were really well marshalled by Dom and Freddie starting to click and the offloading from the forwards proving unmatchable.
Our scrum was immense all day, with front row stalwarts Voigt, PB Coxy and Mason and young Mike Teague giving us fantastic attacking ball all day and winning a few against the head for good measure, backed up by some hard running and tackling from all the forwards.
Man of the Match went to young Freddie who, now he has given up hockey, is developing into a player with real quality and potential. Big mentions also to Dave at full back for the first time, who caught, ran tackled and kicked fantastically and tom Parsons who in his first game of the year showed why he will be a huge asset next year when he is back playing full time. Special mention also to the evergreen PB, who was playing his last game of the season and put in a top performance as he does every week we will miss him and Nigel next week.
Special mention also to all the Horsham lads, who played the whole game with no replacements and who stuck at it until the end and gave us a real test at times. Special mention to their young number 20 who as I have already said had a great game and who I shamelessly tried to poach for next season!!!
This Saturday 30 March we have the Sussex final of the Sussex vase Horsham RFC – Kick Off 12.30. All support will be most welcome and there is a coach leaving the ground at 9.30 if people are interested.