Match Report: Croydon vs Horley 14th April
Croydon turned up to play the last league game of the season, pressure off, music playing and the only thing brighter than the weather being CJ’s choice of shorts. Everyone wanted to finish the season strongly and a huge amount support on the sidelines felt like having an extra player on the pitch. At the opening kick-off, Horley took the game to Croydon. A powerful run through the back line in their opening play looked a certain try but a miraculous last gasp defence from Shrimps and Henderson kept the scores level.
Despite Croydon continuing to hold off the opposition attack, the referee was keen to see the deadlock broken and rewrote the rule book to gift Horley a try. However, much like the Grand National, the Poppies knew that there was plenty more to obstacles to jump and the early frontrunner never wins. Answering straight back, Croydon began throwing themselves, and each other, at the opposition. Inches short of the line, Billy ‘human wrecking ball’ Simons launched Jack ‘human cannonball’ Drummy into the air and over the line to level the game and earn his seventh consecutive “Drummy pint” (it’s as if they were made for him!)
The sunny weather was bringing out free flowing, sevens-style rugby, with Gissing, Dammers and even Broadbent getting into the mood with jinking runs and neat offloads. Croydon were also finding success in the lineout; Griffiths, Defrates, and Yorkie were orchestrating the rolling maul to great effect, bulldozing down the pitch at a canter. Dominant field position was capitalised on by Bond, who slotted two penalties and try of his own to widen the home team’s lead.
Croydon ended the half up 18-10 and in spirits that even the questionable refereeing couldn’t dampen. Not wanting to lose the advantage, the Poppies (and Cousins) came out swinging in the second half. More pressure from the backs marshalled by Henderson and Hawk resulted in a slick line break from Lyell to crash over for another Croydon try under the posts.
As Horley continued to threaten, Bond took it upon himself to break opposition spirits “just like he breaks opposition ribs”. Tactical kicking pinned Horley back and another penalty was slotted before a drop goal attempt got “caught on his shoelaces” just as he “lost his footing” and hopelessly rolled along the floor and into touch. Thankfully, Smith did not suffer from the same shocking decision making when choosing to tap-and-go with a five metre penalty. Taking advantage of Horley disorganisation and very long limbs, CJ stretched (and stretched) and scored to secure a try bonus point for the Poppies.
With the home straight in sight, Croydon fought close out the victory. Fresh defence was brought on in Tony and Ronnie to bravely battle wave after wave of wave of Horley attack. Drowning under the relentless waves never a worry, partially thanks to Alfie wearing his best Baywatch attire on the sidelines but also due to the overwhelming points gap Croydon had created. The final whistle blew and Croydon celebrated a deserved victory with pizza and beer.
Final Score Croydon 35 - 22 Horley
Tries: Drummy, Bond, Lyell, Smith
Conversions: Bond (2)
Penalties: Bond (3)
Forward/Back of the match
A superb addition to the back line options, grew into the game and was a menace in defence shutting down Horley running options. With his pace and support running, I can’t see many teams keeping Hawk off the scoresheet next season.
The veteran prop put in another resolute performance and martialled the set piece to great effect. Added to the post-match celebrations by declaring himself available for one more season “for the road.”