Hornets fade after the break at Chippenham
- Credit: Archant
Hornets conceded 17 second half points in their final pre-season friendly at Chippenham, to lose by five.
Chippenham 29 pts
Hornets 24 pts
HORNETS travelled to Chippenham for their final pre-season outing prior to the first National League match on Saturday.
Chippenham were relegated from National League 3 last season, but it was clear they meant business.
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Hornets started brilliantly. The home side kicked off and immediately knocked on, but Disney played the advantage and kicked keep into the Chippenham half. The chase was good and the Chippenham backs were caught and turned over. The ball was moved quickly and Jack Gadd crashed over for an early try.
Chippenham immediately responded and the physicality of the home side appeared higher as they forced two scrums and from the second, a try followed to level the scores.
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The next 20 minutes saw Hornets at their best. A penalty was won in midfield and Jones kicked to touch. The forwards secured the line-out ball and set up an impressive driving maul.
They drove towards the line and Littlewood moved it to Disney, who drew the tackle and skilfully offloaded the ball for Gadd. He surged through the gap and slipped a pass to brother Joe, who scored unopposed under the posts. Jones added the extras for 12-5.
Hornets kept up the pressure and the forwards were soon rewarded from a driving maul. Haines, Cheeseborough and Hogarth worked hard in the maul and Chase crashed over for a try, converted by Jones.
Chippenham responded with a try of their own, before Jones replied with a touch down. Again the forwards controlled the breakdown and quick hands from the backs found Jones on the wing, who smashed his way through the cover tacklers to score in the corner to make it 24-12 at the break.
However, that was as good as it got for Hornets, and in fact it was all downhill in the second half.
Chippenham tore into the Hornets defence as soon as the second half kicked off and within two minutes they pulled the score back to 24-19. They maintained their physicality levels and made it difficult for Hornets to get a foothold in the game.
Hornets were on the back foot for much of the second half and despite their best efforts in defence, particularly from Cheeseborough and Francis, a further try followed to draw the scores level at 24-24.
That was the way it looked as though it was going to finish, but Hornets decided to take a scrum for the last play of the game when awarded a penalty, rather than kick for goal.
They were turned over at the scrum and Chippenham broke the length of the pitch for the winning try and a final score line of 29-24 to the home side.
This was a tough test for Hornets ahead of their trip to Newton Abbot, hopefully a test they will learn from ahead of Saturday’s first league match.
Chippenham 10 pts
Hornets 34 pts
THE Development XV travelled to Chippenham for their last pre-season run out against a strong and physical outfit.
After a bright start from Hornets, it was Chippenham who took the lead after some poor tackling from the Hornets pack.
Skipper Ward regrouped his troops and after a slick backs move, Owens showed his pace to score a superb try, unfortunately he picked up an injury during the run and was replaced by Rousell.
Chippenham replied with a try to take the lead, but Rousell scored two tries before half-time, one converted by Dorrington.
After the break Hornets introduced Vivian, Donegan and Massey into the front row replacing the outstanding Baker, Grimes and man of the match Ward.
Rousell completed his hat-trick after Vaughan and Lewis showed great passing skills to free up the pacy wingman. Again Dorrington added the conversion before being replaced by Davidson.
The next try came when Nicholls sent Simmons scything through on a short line to score a brilliant try. Hornets’ final five-pointer was scored by the hard working winger Xanh, who burst through the defence to touch down and bring the curtain down on a very good team performance.
Ward, Baker and Fairhurst were brilliant in Hornets in the pack, while the Nicholls/Simmons partnership looks to be an exciting combination.