Encouraging performance in first national league match

Hornets started well in their first ever National League 3 match, despite losing narrowly at Newton Abbot.

Newton Abbot 41 pts

Hornets 36 pts

HORNETS gave an encouraging performance in the club’s first ever National League 3 match at Newton Abbot.

An apprehensive Hornets side took to the field and for the first 15 minutes, the home side gave an exhibition of the organisation and focus.

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Newton Abbot kicked off and gathered their own kick and the resulting ruck ended in a penalty and before Hornets had touched the ball, the hosts were 3-0 in the lead.

Another penalty was conceded at a breakdown and Abott doubled their lead after five minutes. Hornets hit back when they kicked a penalty to touch and the line-out saw the pack set up an attacking maul.

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With the home defence committed, the ball was moved to Jack Gadd who took the tackle and offloaded to Jones, who surged through to score under the posts, which he also converted.

They did not hold the lead for long as Newton Abbot returned to the attack and went over in the corner for their first try of the afternoon.

Again Hornets hit back straightaway as Jones touched down after good work from Adam Francis and Wheller. The conversion was missed but Hornets led 11-12.

The Hornets defence, marshalled well by Dempsey, who had a great game on his return to his home club, was solid until the 38th minute when a charged down clearance saw the host cross for a converted try.

Hornets immediately responded and a series of penalties saw Newton Abbot lose their No 8 to a yellow card and Hogarth crash over for an unconverted try to leave the half-time score 18-17.

The second half started badly for Hornets. A clearance kick bounced awkwardly, allowing the Newton Abbot backs to break away for a score. However, again Hornets responded immediately with a try of their own.

Francis broke the line and made good ground before freeing Wheller to show his pace and score Hornets fourth and bonus point try in the corner.

The next 20 minutes saw the visitors fail to maintain their normal levels of discipline and a series of penalties saw the home side extend their lead through two penalty kicks and their fourth try of the afternoon, leaving Hornets trailing 38-22.

However, the visitors were not done. First a great team try saw the ball worked from one flank to the other before Parker and Chase surged towards the line and when stopped, the ball was moved quickly by Littlewood and found Gadd to break the line and score. Jones converted and the score was back to 38-29.

Newton Abbot slotted another penalty, but Hornets were still not finished. Jones broke on the wing and when stopped, the forwards joined the maul to shove him towards the line.

The ball was held up, but the resulting scrum saw solid ball and Letherby dart over for Hornets’ sixth try. The conversion made it 41-36 and with five minutes remaining it was Newton Abbot who were holding on for their victory.

Despite Hornets’ best efforts, the home side held on, but Hornets will be pleased with their two bonus points and will also be aware that they have plenty to work on before the visit of Old Centralians to The Nest on Saturday.

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