Hornets defeat Bournemouth with 14 men

Hornets v Bournemouth.

Hornets v Bournemouth. - Credit: Archant

Hornets recorded an excellent confidence-boosting victory over Bournemouth, despite being down to 14 men.

HORNETS 33 pts


FOLLOWING last week’s heavy defeat, Hornets recorded a confidence-boosting victory at home to Bournemouth.

A new-look back row featured Ramaz Rukhadze returning to the side at No 8 and Dexter Nettleton making his first appearance of the season at flanker. In the backs, Matt Cornish started at full-back and in the centre 18-year-old Danny Bailey was promoted to make his first start. On the bench youngster George Greatbanks was poised to make his first team debut.

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Hornets had the better of the first 10 minutes, but were unable to register any points. The first score eventually came after 15 minutes, Bailey and Cornish were involved in breaking the line and James Letherby also made good ground and won a penalty.

The ball was kicked to touch and the resulting maul saw the forwards rumble towards the line and Alec Chase crash over for the try, which Jermaine Jones converted for a 7-0 lead, which almost immediately became 7-3 as Bournemouth struck back with a penalty.

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The game exploded into life as the Hornets forward drove towards the line and were pulled down just short. The resulting fracus resulted in a yellow card for a Bournemouth defender and a shock red card for Sean Disney for stamping on a defender, while trying to free the ball.

With both sides down to 14 men, albeit Bournemouth only temporarily, Hornets were sparked into action. Another Cornish break saw the forwards recycle the ball and surge forward, Letherby moved the ball to Phil Hogarth, who cantered over unopposed. Jones again converted.

From the kick-off, Jones won a penalty at the turnover and Letherby found a good touch. The forwards orchestrated by Hogarth again drove forward and when the ball was moved, Cornish collected and sprinted over to make the score 19-3 at half-time.

Hornets started the second half as they finished the first and added two more quick tries. The first saw Adam Francis scythe through to score under the posts and then Jones crashed over from close range to make the score 33-3.

Despite being down to 14 men, the Hornets backs were putting in a great shift with Sonny Haines and Chase dominating at the scrum, Courtney Harris impressive in the second row and Joe Smith and Chris Francis tackling their hearts out in defence.

Behind the pack, Letherby also controlled the game well and demonstrated he has a solid kicking game when needed.

As the game entered the last quarter, Greatbanks, made his debut and Kieron Ward joined the fray and gained some great experience in what proved to be a challenging last 20 minutes.

With Bournemouth facing a lost cause, they suddenly started to play running 15-man rugby and at last started to take advantage of the extra man. A tiring Hornets defence started to show cracks and Bournemouth were able to run in three tries to bring the Hornets came away with an impressive confidence-boosting victory and at the same time showed the strength of depth the club currently has in its ranks.

On Saturday, the side will be back of the road again and will face a stern test against a strong Brixham side, who currently sit one place above Hornets in the league.

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