Comeback kings Horsham record fifth successive win

Horsham came back from 0-13 down and then 12-21 down to scores two tries near the end to take a thrilling 27-21 home win over promotion challengers Medway on Saturday.

Ciaran Preston was Horshams man of the match in their thrilling comeback win over Medway. Picture by Darryl Sears
Ciaran Preston was Horshams man of the match in their thrilling comeback win over Medway. Picture by Darryl Sears

This was the Green and White’s fifth successive win and the first victory over Medway in their history and the accomplishment was clear at the final whistle on the faces of the players, coaching team and supporters.

Horsham started slowly and were conceding penalties at the breakdown with Medway dominant.

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The visitors slotted two kicks at goal, and when they scored a converted try the visitors led 13-0 after 13 minutes.

The hosts were living off scraps but they kicked a penalty to the corner, and from the ensuing catch and drive and subsequent recycle Ciaran Preston drove over to score.

The Green and Whites were more settled now and Joe Notter spotted a mismatch to glide between two props for a fine try which was converted by Harrison Sims to narrow the deficit after 29 minutes to 12-13.

Medway kicked a penalty and went into half-time leading 12-16.

The visitors started the second half strongly. They scored a try from a break in midfield and a missed tackle out wide to lead 12-21.

But then the fightback started. Following the award of a penalty, which was successfully kicked by Sims, Preston showed an amazing turn of the pace to accelerate away from the Medway defenders to make a break of 40 metres, and following a penalty at the breakdown in front of the posts, Horsham chose to take a scrum knowing that they needed tries to win.

At the scrum the Green and Whites drove Medway back to see Vince Everitt pick up and drive over to score his sixth try in three games.

With the try converted by Sims, Horsham led for the first time in the game 22-21.

This was followed by a Notter break. The ball made its way to Sims who glided through the gap to finish well and secure the fourth try bonus point.

With the kick unconverted the Green and Whites led 27-21 and had to show some resolute defence to hold out repeated Medway attacks, incurring a yellow card to Will Grief, and showed outstanding effort to hold out to secure the win.

Horsham head coach Nick Stocker said: “A very pleasing five point win against one of the league’s top sides. Medway have been perennial challengers for this league title and are a fine side.

“We knew it would be a very tough day at the office but similarly, knew we had the game to beat them at our place given the game at theirs earlier in the season.

“We started slowly and our error count under pressure was too great conceding both field position and possession through the first quarter.

“However as we settled we started to look more dangerous and by half-time were right back in the fight.

“Our second half was excellent. Defence was solid. Set piece gradually more dominant and the attack shape started to expose gaps which our backs exploited.

“Our fourth try was a fine example of this and well finished by Harrison Sims who had a fine game following long term injury.

“Next up we visit old rivals Dartfordians who we know well and where the match is always hugely competitive.”