As the phone buzzed away in the secretary’s house on Sunday morning, pitch inspections were well underway but with flakes of snow falling it was not surprising that the matches started to go. All away matches at Bognor and Rustington were called off due to waterlogged pitches, so that meant no play for the U12s’ semi-final and both U13 Green and the U11s were left frustrated as the heavy rain continued. However, after a referee’s inspection the U16s’ pitch was deemed playable so up went the nets, the teams arrived, and it was ‘game on’ for the Hornets against Rustington Youth. This was not for the faint-hearted on the sidelines as rain and snow saw the brollies go up and mud, glorious mud, and a nasty cold wind saw plenty of those Christmas hats, scarves, gloves and wellies making an appearance.
Yet the conditions didn’t start too bad and the Horsham lads seemed to be coping with the bitter wind and snow, creating chances as the pitch started to cut up before the middle of the pitch became like a pudding bowl, making it very difficult for both sides. With the half-time score level at 1-1, quick regroup and team talk saw the Horsham squad press the Otters back line after the break and they were rewarded with a smart move in which they kept things simple and used the flanks to go 2-1 ahead. Rustington worked hard and kept pushing for equaliser which gave the Hornets chances to increase their lead on the break but it was the Otters who drew level after Horsham were caught out of position. This seemed to give Rustington a second wind and, after another chance from the Hornets, the Otters stole the show with a winner as the game played out. The conditions were not great for either side – more conducive to mud wrestling in fact – but Horsham will be disappointed not to have got something out of the match as the whole squad worked hard and won’t be happy losing the match after being in control and in front.
Thanks for all the support on the side lines and to the ‘lino’, U12s manager Paul, who took up the flag after his match was postponed and clocked up over two miles running the line!
Horsham’s goalscorers were Harry Kent and Jake Relleen.