Hornets end the season with impressive victory

PUBLISHED: 09:39 28 April 2017 | UPDATED: 09:39 28 April 2017

Hornets v Ivybridge 22/04/17. Picture: Eleanor Young

Hornets v Ivybridge 22/04/17. Picture: Eleanor Young

Archant

Hornets finished the season with an impressive win over Ivybridge, a perfect sending off for coaches Jon Richardson and Jack Gadd.

Hornets 27 pts

Ivybridge 14 pts

Hornets brought the coaching era of Jack Gadd and Jon Richardson to an end with an impressive win over Ivybridge.

The Devon club went into the game looking to finish the season in third spot, but Hornets’ bonus point win over them means they slip to sixth in the table, while Hornets themselves climb one place to finish a respectable eighth in a league, with just nine points separating the team in third place and the team in ninth.

Sean Disney captained the side and led them onto the pitch in what might be his last game for a club he joined as an under-10 due to moving to Devon for a new job.

With the coaching team of Jack Gadd, who joined the club as an under-7, and Jon Richardson also moving on, and a packed crowd in attendance following a patron’s lunch, there was a good incentive for the players to put in a good performance.

In sunny conditions, Hornets started brightly and in an early attack, Danny Bailey latched onto a clever kick through from Disney, but was held up just short. A penalty was awarded and from the resulting line-out the forwards drove over, but were adjudged to have been held up over the line.

From the scrum, Matt Parker crashed his way to the line and when the ball was recycled, Courtney Harris was on hand to dart over. Charlie Carter converted for a 7-0 lead.

Ivybridge forced their way into the game and looked the likely next scorers, until a quick break down the narrow side found Oscar James in a bit of space in his own half. He fended off the first tackler and rounded the second and streaked away to score and extend the lead to 12-0.

However, Ivybridge continued to have the upper hand for the remainder of the first-half and by the interval had registered two scores of their own to go into the break with a 12-14 lead.

Head coach for the day, Richardson freshened things up by bringing on Ben Fry and Lewis Brake for Connor Littlewood and Parker and continued to ring the changes regularly during the second half.

With tensions rising, both sides lost a player to a yellow card and a long period of stalemate followed. It was Sonny Haines who changed the tempo of the game. Picking the ball up inside his own 22 and going on a rampaging run before he was dragged down by three defenders on the Ivybridge 22. The ball was recycled and Hornets were stopped just short, but suddenly they had some momentum.

A penalty soon followed which Carter kicked to nudge Hornets into a 15-14 lead and Hornets clicked into action. A series of phases saw the forwards make good ground and when the ball was moved wide, Adam Francis switched the ball back inside where Littlewood was on hand to dart over to score.

Littlewood then completely stole the show with a magnificent individual try which saw him gather a pass just inside the Ivybridge half, throw a series of dummies and outrageous side steps before diving over the line and touching down. Carter converted and Hornets looked home and dry.

Ivybridge hit back, but solid defending meant that they were kept at bay until the last play when an unconverted try pulled the score back to 27-19, leaving the Devon side just short of a losing bonus point.

Hornets will be very happy with their days work and overall happy with their season which has shown that they continue to be competitive at this level and can look forward to a fourth season of National League rugby next season.

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