Horsham RFC ready to meet new challenge head on

Horsham RFC’s men’s 1st XV head into uncharted territory in the forthcoming season playing at the highest level in the club’s history following promotion into the fifth tier of English rugby, writes club chairman Richard Ordidge.
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This will involve among others, away trips to Bournemouth and Marlborough, a local derby against Brighton and a glamour tie against London Welsh.

Having gained promotion as Champions of Regional 2SE and following this up with a magical cup run to the final at Twickenham in the inaugural Papa John’s Cup, the 2022/23 season will go down in club history as the most successful year yet for the men's 1st XV.

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Having reached level 5 of the rugby pyramid, we look forward to our first season in the old National 3 when we take our bow in Regional 1 South Central.

Horsham RFC's 2022-23 title winners | Picture: HRFCHorsham RFC's 2022-23 title winners | Picture: HRFC
Horsham RFC's 2022-23 title winners | Picture: HRFC

We do so with tremendous excitement albeit a very real understanding of the challenge that lies ahead. A short look at the fixture list will leave little doubt as to the strength of the league and for 2023/24, Horsham's 1st XV will be renewing acquaintances made through our early seasons in the old London 1 and witnessing a renewal of some of the tremendous battles we have seen in the past.

With the undoubted confidence gained from performing consistently well all year, alongside the retention of 90% of our young playing squad, the confidence in the camp is high. Couple this with some excellent new recruits with experience of playing National League Rugby, and the third full year that our coaching team has been together, we certainly aim meet the challenge full on.

The core tenets of Horsham's mobile pack and exciting backline are retained and we will continue to target the free scoring style for which Horsham has become known.

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We have worked hard at our game over the course of the last few seasons and continue to evolve this with each new step. This year we will be playing the likes of Havant, Camberley and London Welsh, teams we have had magnificent tussles with recently, alongside new opponents in the likes of Marlborough, Maidenhead, Bournemouth, Bracknell and CS Stags.

With old foes Hammersmith & Fulham, Tunbridge Wells and local Sussex rivals Brighton all in the mix, each week will undoubtedly provide a thrilling top quality game. Whilst the likes of Havant, Camberley and London Welsh will be favourites to take the next step, we form part of a group of three promoted teams at this level. For our part we are looking to settle quickly into the new league and consolidate at this level whilst creating a stir of our own.

Former Harlequins Professional, Ross Chisholm continues as Performance Coach, Adam Halsey as Lead Coach, Richard Bell as Attack and Skills Coach, and Assistants Jamie Redmayne and Rich Tredgett all remain in post.

Together with Nick Stocker as Head of Rugby, we have a very experienced Level 3 qualified coaching team, all of which have played in the upper echelons of league rugby.

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A pre-season squad fixture has already taken place away at Wimbledon which was a good hit out where we suffered a couple of knocks and we hosted Chichester on Saturday and we welcome Dorking under lights tonight ( 24 August) in further pre-season games to ensure we are fully prepared for the season’s opener at Havant on September 2.

Meanwhile the club continues to develop off the field with the extension of its Changing Room facilities, to primarily cater for the recent increase in the number of our women’s and girls’ teams, which is set to be completed by early October.

There is also a fundraising campaign underway to resurface the car park and anyone interested in supporting this initiative should contact me, Richard Ordidge, at [email protected]