Hornets enjoy a successful season

Hornets celebrate one of their most successful seasons in their 49-year history.

WHAT a season it has been at Hutton Moor Park. With the 1st XV, 3rd XV and Colts all winning their respective leagues, the Colts and Under-15s winning their Somerset Cups and three other junior sides making the final, it has to be one of the most successful seasons in the clubs 49-year history.

The 1st XV set their stall out very early and as things turned out it was the win at home to Chard in October that was to prove crucial in the closing stages of the season.

On the day Hornets were victorious and gained a three point lead over their nearest rivals which was never to be relinquished. In fact, Hornets’ unbeaten record in all competitions was to be maintained until the last weekend in February, when an in-form Old Richians took the spoils in the National Cup.

This was soon followed by a midweek defeat against Wellington in the Somerset Vase, a team that plays a league higher than Hornets and who went on to win the competition.

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There are many reasons why the 1st XV has been successful, but stability most certainly hasn’t been one of them. Hornets have used 48 players this year with 14 of those still qualifying for the Colts.

Player coach Phil Hogarth has been an ever-present this season playing in all matches and coming out joint top try scorer with Stu Vinnicombe, notching up 18 tries and 90 points apiece. Not to overshadow these performances, Paul Sheppard managed to break through the 100 points barrier with a haul of 106, but the season’s top scorer was Sam Lloyd-Jones with a massive 227 points, coming from 12 tries, 67 conversions, 10 penalties and a solitary drop-goal.

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The 2nd XV also had a good campaign and finished fourth in a hard-fought Somerset 2 North division. The demands placed on them by a 1st XV saw the 2nd XV use a total of 78 players in the course of their season.

The stalwarts of the side were Jason Burrell, James Lawrence and Ben Milsom, all of whom played more than 20 games. The top try scorer was Bobby Hewlett with 17.

Hornets 3rd XV enjoyed a successful season in Somerset 3 South, finishing as champions with 15 wins from 16 (including two walkovers), eight points clear of local rivals Bridgwater. In addition, the team played a further six friendlies and won four, meaning they were only defeated three times all season.

The performances of the team were built on the dominance of the forwards, with the regular front row of Dave Jones, James Gould and Howard Evans almost immovable, along with the consistent excellence of Dave Geddes in the back row, who finished as top try scorer with 12.

Top try scorers amongst the backs were Joe Beaney and Steve Edwards with eight each, closely followed by Mark Harvey and Connor Hull with seven. Top points scorer with 99 was Rob Owen.

The final mention must go to captain Damian Hewlett without whose enthusiasm (not to mention his six tries, including a hat-trick against Castle Cary) none of the team’s success would have been possible.

This year saw the passing through of the second year Colts one of the best year groups in Hornets history. The side have been coached from Under-7 to Under-19 by Andy Francis, with support from several assistants along the way.

The Colts enjoyed a successful season, aided by the Under-17s they won the Somerset league and also retained the Somerset Colts Cup for the first time in the club’s history.

The team itself was disappointed in their run in the National Colts Cup reaching only the quarter-final. So where does this leave them now?

A large contingent will be available for the seniors next year and Andy Francis has been part of the coaching team for the Under-15s who have just won the Somerset Cup and the Bristol Combination Cup.

With all of these successes achieved the club is hoping for more of the same in 2011/12 as it celebrates its 50th anniversary with events throughout the year, building up to a dinner dance at the Winter Gardens on May 19, 2012, featuring a popular local band.

Tickets will be available from the club at the end of this month and demand is expected to be high.

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