Hornets’ cup final victory ends an excellent season

Hornets Rugby Club Somerset Cup winners.

Hornets Rugby Club Somerset Cup winners. - Credit: Archant

Hornets won the Somerset Cup for only the second time to cap an excellent season.

HORNETS 30 pts

WELLS 14 pts

HORNETS won the Somerset Cup final against Wells, for only the second time in their history, to cap a fine season which also saw them finish sixth in South West National League 3 in their first-ever season at that level.

Some big early collisions, notably by the outstanding Ross Cheeseborough, set the tone and the Hornets forwards set a solid platform for their dangerous backs.

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However, there was a double early blow for Hornets when skipper Chris Francis and player-coach Alec Chase were forced to leave the field through injury. Kieran Ward and Dave Vivian came on as replacements.

Hornets first try came when a blindside break from Cheeseborough saw him exchange passes with full-back Charlie Carter and sprinted clear to score. However, Wells’ Somerset fly-half Aaron Cooke booted them into a 5-9 lead with three penalty goals.

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Hornets still looked the stronger side and when centre Adam Francis broke the Wells defence, Ward was in support to put Conor Littlewood in for a wonderful try at the posts. Jermaine Jones converted for a half-time score of 12-9.

Speed of ball was the half-time message and Hornets delivered a sweeping move finished with James Letherby’s rocket of a pass finding Carter, who after a quick juggling act, held on to increase Hornets lead.

The evergreen man of the match Phil Hogarth who, prematurely in many eyes, was bringing the curtain down on an illustrious career went on a 60-metre barnstorming run before finally running out of moves at the Wells full-back.

From the resulting play, Hornets were awarded a penalty and Jones stretched Hornets lead to a healthy 20-9.

Hornets backs delivered the next try that was full of pace and precision, the ball was quickly moved from left to right and winger Steve Thompson was on hand to put Carter in for his second try of the night and take the score out to 25-9.

Wells came back to life following Carter’s score and were twice unlucky not to score on both occasions being penalised with Hornets’ line at their mercy, but did score when their full-back crossed for a well deserved try.

As the game came to its final stages, the Hornets forwards took advantage of an tiring Wells pack and after a series of drives, Georgian back row star Ramaz Rukhadze grabbed a late try to make the final score 30-14.

The Hornets pack were made to work hard in this game and Sonny Haines, Ross Cheeseborough, Matt Parker and man of the match Phil Hogarth were tremendous, ably assisted by young guns Joe Smith, Ward and Connor Baker.

The line-out was impeccable all night and the back row had to work hard to secure ball against Wells, who are ferocious at the breakdown.

The backs sparkled all night with Conor Littlewood and James Letherby pulling the strings, Adam Francis was a class act in the 12 shirt, while Matt Cornish always remains a threat from 13 and Jermaine Jones carried as much ball as any of the forwards from the wing.

This was a well-deserved win and just rewards for the hard work from all the players and coaches Alec Chase and Jack Gadd.

Winning squad: Alec Chase, Chris Francis (c), Sonny Haines, Phil Hogarth, Ross Cheeseborough, Connor Baker, Joe Smith, Matt Parker, Conor Littlewood, James Letherby, Jermaine Jones, Adam Francis, Matt Cornish, Steve Thompson, Charlie Carter, Dave Vivian, Kieran Ward, Dexter Nettleton, Ramaz Rukhadze, Sean Disney, Danny Bailey and James Dibble.

FIVE members of last year’s Hornets Colts side have this year graduated to the club’s successful first team.

All five played in last week’s Somerset Cup final win over Wells. Making it five years in a row they have won the Somerset Cup at various age groups and now at senior level.

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