Hornets clinch national Under-17 title

Kieran Ward.

Kieran Ward. - Credit: Archant

Hornets Under-17s were crowned national champions after their beat Warrington in the final.

Hornets 46 pts

Warrington 23 pts

AFTER laying claim to both the south west and the south divisional titles, Hornets Under-17s defeated Warrington to be crowned club champions of England.

Warrington were put under pressure with some ferocious Hornets tackling from props Ben Reseigh and Ash Challenger and locks Dan Ogden and George Greatbanks.

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After driving Warrington back to their own 22 metre line, Hornets were awarded a penalty in front of the uprights. Captain Kieran Ward elected for a scrum and Adam Francis fed fellow centre Sam Balkham to force his was over for an early try.

Warrington hit back with a penalty before outstanding No 8 Alex Colborne forced his way over for a try, he converted himself. Colborne then stretched Hornets’ lead further with a penalty before Warrington enjoyed their best spell.

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Influential scrum-half Conor Littlewood was yellow carded for not retreating 10 metres from a penalty and Hornets were rattled. The northerners converted a penalty and then scored a converted try to make the score 15-13 to Hornets at the break.

Warrington came out for the second period all guns blazing as they laid siege on the Hornets line and had a try disallowed. The resultant scrum saw Littlewood return from the bin and the start of a blistering 20 minutes from the Weston boys.

Firstly Jacob Swain, a replacement for Johnny Xanh, showed some neat finishing skills and pace to dive over in the corner. Andrew Wheller scored next for Hornets when he raced through a gap before beating the covering player and sprinting 40 metres to the line. Colborne again added the conversion.

Hornets were now in the ascendency and the ball was fired out to classy No 10 Craig Nicholls on his own 10 metre line his eye for a gap took him through the first line of defence.

He then embarked on a breathtaking run dummying and sidestepping his way upfield until finally a clear run to the line opened up to score a try that will live long in the memory of anyone lucky enough to have been there.

Colborne added the extras and Hornets were flying before Warrington kicked their third penalty. Adam Thompson and Montell Kelly came on for Lewis Brake and Ash Challenger respectively and continued their good work in the tight winning plenty of ball for the Hornets to attack.

Ward dived in for a great try after some more slick play from the Hornets, sparking huge celebrations, Colborne again converted. Connor Davidson replaced Sam Lewis in the back division and Joe Howe and Alex Perkins replaced the superb duo of Joe Smith and Reseigh.

It was two replacements that created Hornets’ final try. Howes’ brilliant tackle and Kelly’s turnover sent Francis on a long run before he offloaded the ball to send Wheller in for his second of the game.

Francis was immediately replaced by Danny Bailey and with five minutes to go, Littlewood’s deliberate knock-on meant he was sent off for a second yellow card.

Warrington hit back with a converted try, but the game was over at 46-23 to the Hornets and Nicholls kicked the ball dead to bring the curtain down on a superb match.

This was a fantastic achievement from the Hornets boys who have shown that hard work, friendship and loyalty pay off in the end and to crowned champions of England is an accolade nobody can ever take away.

There were some amazing performances on the day, but Alex Colborne was awarded the man of the match award.

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