Hornets fade away to lose third successive match

Exmouth Cockles played the Hornets at the Imperial ground on Saturday. Ref wsp 4831-44-15SH. Picture

Exmouth Cockles played the Hornets at the Imperial ground on Saturday. Ref wsp 4831-44-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn - Credit: Archant

Having won the first three games of the season, Hornets slipped to their third successive defeat.

Exmouth 32 pts

Hornets 15 pts

HORNETS’ great start to the season is starting to look decidedly average. Having won the first three games of the season, this result saw them slip to their third successive defeat.

They are ninth in the table, their lowest position since joining National League 3 at the beginning of last season.

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This trip to Devon against one of the pre-season favourites for promotion was always going to be a further step up in the level of challenge. With 15 minutes to go, the game could have gone either way, but it was Exmouth who showed greater experience and composure to secure the result.

The game started badly for Hornets with Ross Cheeeborough, in his first game of the season after recovering from injury, was injured trying to win the ball at the kick-off. Dave Vivian entered the fray in the back row, a position he does not play regularly, but he put in a great shift.

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The hosts conceded an early penalty and Exmouth followed this up with a strong scrum, and their pacy backs scored the first try, which was converted for a 10-0 lead.

The visitors hit back when Adam Francis was able to break the defensive line and a good offload to Craig Nichols saw him score the first try.

Soon after, Jermaine Jones made a break towards halfway. He offloaded to Nichols, who immediately fed Conor Littlewood.

Littlewood sprinted from halfway, holding off and jinking round defenders to score an excellent solo try in the corner. Jones couldn’t convert, but Hornets were back in the game at 10-10.

With half-time approaching, Exmouth slotted another penalty and went into the break leading 13-10.

Hornets started the second half strongly and looked to be about to score when Charlie Carter was hauled down just short of the line. Quick ball was denied by the Exmouth scrum-half. The referee immediately sent him to the bin, but Hornets were unable to register any points.

Exmouth broke away and scored in the corner, but Hornets again bounced back in impressive style, with Jones making a break from his own half before offloading to Francis, who registered Hornets’ third try to bring the score back to 18-15.

It was Exmouth who scored next to stretch the lead to 25-15 and with Hornets’ heads appearing to drop, Exmouth added a further score in the dying minutes to put the result beyond any doubt at 32-15.

More lessons were learnt by the young Hornets side and an opportunity on Saturday to put things right as they take on Bridgwater in the Somerset Cup. A mid-day kick-off at Bridgwater with the World Cup final as an after-match treat.

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