Hornets fail to make an impact at Barnstaple
- Credit: Archant
An increasing number of injuries is starting to take its toll at Hornets, with the first team losing 43-10 at Barnstaple.
BARNSTAPLE 43 pts
HORNETS 10 pts
HORNETS travelled to Barnstaple hoping to keep up the pressure on the top teams in the league.
However, when they got there they appeared to forget to get off the coach and found themselves 29-0 down before making an impression in the game.
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With an increasing number of injuries starting to take a toll on the squad, none of the remaining games are going to be easy and the character of the young squad is likely to come under close scrutiny over the coming weeks.
At the same time, the quality of the teams in National 3 means that they have the ability to analyse Hornets’ game plan and counter their strengths.
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Barnstaple had certainly done their home work and appeared to be a much stronger and better organised team than the one beaten 36-17 at The Nest back in October.
Hornets were knocked out of their stride in the first few minutes when a scuffle saw each side lose a player to a yellow card, for Hornets this was the influential skipper Chris Francis and his early absence meant the visitors had to adapt their approach quickly.
Barnstaple took advantage of this immediately from the resulting penalty. They kicked for touch, secured the line-out and their fly-half switched the ball inside to the blindside winger who scored under the posts. A penalty quickly followed the converted try and Hornets were 10-0 behind.
Hornets hit back through a Josh Littlewood run and a Charlie Carter break. A penalty was awarded in front of the posts, but Hornets chose to tap and go and missed the opportunity to register some early points of their own.
The rest of the first half belonged to the home side as Hornets struggled to get themselves into the game with a lucklustre performance.
The Barnstaple attackers seemed to be able to break the defensive line at will and their winger added two further tries to register a first-half hat-trick and when a clearance kick was charged down, Barnstaple found themselves scoring the bonus point try with less than 30 minutes played.
With half-time approaching, two more players were sent to the sin bin, this time for Hornets it was Alec Chase, and with the teams down to 14 men each, Hornets were able to register some points as the ball was moved along the line and Stu Vinnicombe set Carter clear to score in the corner. Jermaine Jones converted from the touchline to give a half time score of 29-7.
Hornets received some stern words at half-time and to their credit started the second half much stronger. An early penalty led to a good touch and the resulting line-out allowed the forwards to set up a driving maul and release Jones to crash over for the visitors’ second try. With the conversion the score was back to 29-14.
However, just when Hornets looked like they might pull off a miraculous recovery, they allowed Barnstaple back into the game. A series of scrums put the creaking Hornets pack under pressure and the third infringement at the scrum in quick succession led to a penalty try.
Hornets kept up the fight aand Connor Baker went over in the corner for a deserved try. A bright point of the day was 18-year-old Danny Bailey coming off the bench to make his debut and in doing so making a good first showing.
Hornets pushed for what would have been a bonus point fourth try, but in doing so allowed Barnstaple to break free and score their sixth try and a conclusive final score of 43-19.
So a bad day at the office and some hard work and focus will be needed during the week in advance of another difficult fixture against Bournemouth on Saturday.