HORNDEAN eased their way out of the National League division two south relegation zone without serving a ball.
The Deans were the beneficiary of a match forfeit from rivals Malory Eagles 2, who failed to raise a team for their fixture at Priory School.
Malory, who are in a three-way relegation battle with Horndean and Arun-VC, had fewer than the required six players ready for the south coast trip after two of their members pulled out at the last minute.
But the confirmation news only filtered through to the Deans during the pre-match warm-up after game officials realised that the London team had not yet touched base.
Before applying the late arrival penalty rule, the first referee decided to telephone the visiting team’s officials to make sure that they were on their way.
However, Malory had not even travelled and that information had not been passed on.
The match was eventually awarded to the Deans, who celebrated their first back-to-back victories of the season following last Sunday’s triumph at Arun.
Player-coach Nasser Ssemuwemba was relieved that his team was gifted a very significant win.
He said: ‘We always prefer to win our games on court.
‘It was such a big shame that Malory could not raise a team as we had a strong team ready and waiting.
‘In fact, it was the first time this season that I had actually managed to have all our top players available for a match.
‘It was such a vital fixture which we had to win in order to preserve our case to stay in division two.
‘We feel sorry for Malory because we’ve been in a similar situation this season.
‘We know how disappointing it can be when you fail to get players for games. But, on the flip side, even with your strongest team out, you never know for definite what the result will be.
‘So, for us to get such a crucial win even without breaking sweat is pleasing.’
The win has elevated the Deans out of the drop zone and put them in a good position ahead their end-of-season clash at City of Bristol on Saturday at Brislington Enterprise College (5pm).
A win would definitely secure the Deans’ status in the division, while a loss might also work, depending on other results.
Malory will have to win two of their remaining matches against second-placed Richmond and City of Bristol in order to dislodge the Deans from safety.