Will Staples puts in a man of the match performance in derby win against Horsham Barbarians before the end of the year.
Full Time: Barns Green: 22 (12) Horsham Barbarians: (0) 5
Tries: Van Blerk, Hart, Deacon Cons: Cooper (2) Pen: Cooper (1)
After 48 hours of torrential rain, it was touch and go as to whether the derby would go ahead. Thanks to some last-minute pitch management from the Field Comittee, the game got the green light much to the relief of the players and VPs.
Barns Green were heading into this game off of the back of an incredible performance against Eastbourne which they nearly won. Horsham were also on a high after impressive displays against Hove and Steyning, throw in the wet conditions and this game was always going to be an arm wrestle.
Line outs, wet weather and frustrations
With much of the possession and territory in the opening stages of the first half Barns Green were looking dominant. With Horsham giving away a handful of penalty’s early on, the green and gold looked to capitalise on the pressure and kick the corners. The lineouts however were misfiring giving Horsham a escape route most of the time. The lineout became a constant issue for Barns Green as they struggled to take full control which damned the threat of their attack early on.
However, it wasn’t long until Barns Green converted their possession and territory into points. Coming off the back of his 3 tries against Eastbourne, Jarod Van Blerk continued his fine form with the ball by crashing through and getting in behind for the opening try of the day.
Despite dominating the first half and getting the opening try, Barns Green struggled to convert the momentum into points. With overlaps begging to be utilised, the slippery conditions meant handling errors were starting to creep in. You could sense the frustration growing as Barns Green had visited the Horsham red zone multiple times without getting any further points for their efforts. Something needed to happen and that came when Van Blerk once again crashed through and managed to get his hands free to spectacularly offload the ball to Jordan Hart who boshed through the tackle metres from the line, bouncing off the post for the second try of the day.
Big Defence and Strong Mindset
Horsham came out in the second half with the hill on their side and the bit between their teeth. They enjoyed much more possession and territory than they had for most of the first half. They started to apply the pressure onto the Barns Green lines and they began to slowly creep towards the try line. Some huge physical battles from Barns Green couldn’t keep Horsham out forever. Keeping the ball tight and playing to the conditions, they managed to wrestle their way over the line to bring the score to a converted try which with the momentum didn't look impossible.
This was a moment where Barns Green needed to find some of that determination which saw them run Eastbourne to the line. With the momentum in Horsham’s favour the heads of Barns Green could have easily dropped. Horsham were enjoying a 10-minute spell of dominance but time and time again the men in Green and Gold held firm and kept Horsham to just the five points. Some big hits and turn overs, in particular from Man of the Match Will Staples, slowly started to turn the tide back in Barns Greens favour and it wasn’t long until they had managed to wrestle back the territory.
Unfortunatly the hard defensive efforts lead to Barns Green losing Paddy Pritchard to an HIA after his try line stand off. This lead to some movement in the lineup but it didn't change Barns Greens resolve. Some big performances from the forwards were matched by the work rate by the backs to snuff out set peices and disrupt the flow in Horsham's attack.
There were some outstanding moments for both teams not least to mention a bullet 50-22 kick from Matt Sprigge that ensured Barns Green kept the pressure on towards the end of the game, the line breaks from Noah Middleton and Jarod Van Blerk and the defensive shift from the whole team. Horsham showed some brilliant defensive lineout work and ensured this game was competitive to the end even threatening to nab a losing bonus point at one point.
However, the final nail was when Jack Deacon managed to wrestle his way over the line from 5 metres out ensuring the win for Barns Green and confirming their place in 4th as they enter into the Christmas break.
Captain James Dickson couldn’t have been prouder of the boys over the last few weeks. They have shown grit and determination to overcome difficult challenges and they have been rewarded for their efforts.
Barns Green will be back on the pitch away at Ditchling on the 13th January and return to the Field of Dreams on the 20th of January where they welcome Hove 3s.
Man of the Match
1 Jack Deacon
2 Paddy Pritchard
3 James Dickson (C)
4 Dan Griffiths
5 Will Staples
6 Mark Fairman
7 Noah Middleton
8 Matt Sercombe
9 Tom Bouet
10 Matt Sprigge
11 Jos Lee
12 Nick Cooper
13 Jordan Hart
14 Bryn Jones
15 Jarod Van Blerk