Hornets keep up their promotion challenge
- Credit: Archant
Hornets kept up their promotion challenge with an away victory at Thornbury.
THORNBURY 10 pts
HORNETS 29 pts
FOLLOWING last week’s victory over league leaders, Hornets were on the road to face their next challenge – Thornbury, where the home side were unbeaten all season.
The game started slowly and both sides spent the early stages sounding each other. Hornets slowly managed to assert themselves, particularly in the forwards, but they were unable to find a way to score for the first half-hour.
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As the game wore on Thornbury started to mount their own attacks and were starting to cause Hornets some problems. For all the exchanges it was however, the Hornets’ pack that slowly asserted its authority.
The breakthrough eventually came through some quick thinking from skipper Kent. Thornbury fought off a Hornets attack and kicked clear. Cornish collected and immediately ran the ball back.
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He found some space and was able to release Jones on the wing. A try looked certain, but Jones was dragged down just short of the line and a defender knocked on in the process of stopping the attack.
A scrum resulted and Hornets shoved their opponents backwards and were awarded a penalty just short of the line. Kent reacted quickly, took a quick tap and burrowed over for the opening score.
Thornbury took the game back to Hornets with some running rugby of their own. A penalty was awarded for a high tackle in front the posts and Thornbury were able to make it 5-3 at half-time.
The second half saw Hornets pick up the pace and a brilliant passage of play changed the direction of the game. Another dominant scrum, which saw Chase, Kent and Haines at their best, provided quick ball for the backs, who were able to implement a training ground move.
Letherby moved the ball to Jack Gadd, and looped around to collect it again. He then released Cornish and Bradley, who in turn found Jones on the 22. He was able to dive over in the corner for a second try, which he converted for a 10-3 lead.
This saw the confidence levels visible increase. Even though Thornbury pulled a quick try back to level at 10-10, it only inspired Hornets to change gear and leave the home side for dead.
Hornets further upped the intensity. Francis was introduced off the bench for his senior debut in a Hornets shirt and within minutes he had made a massive impact to score his first try for the club.
Hornets won a penalty and kicked to touch. The resultant driving maul was stopped illegally by the defence resulting in a penalty and a yellow card for the Thornbury prop.
Another maul resulted from the kick to touch and Francis was able to peel off the back and smash his way over for a try. Jones again converted for a 17-10 lead.
Straight from the kick off Hornets went on the attack again. Francis broke in open play and rampaged into the opposition 22 and his pass was cut out illegally. Another penalty resulted and while Thornbury stopped the driving maul, Hornets moved the ball wide and Cornish cantered over unopposed for the bonus point try.
Another Thornbury yellow card followed as the next attack was repelled leaving them to defend with 13 men. This did not prove enough as Bradley gathered a Thornbury kick and returned one of his own which he was able to chase.
The Thornbury defender was caught and the ball ripped from him. The waiting Carter found himself in space and was able to race clear for a final try. Again Jones converted for an impressive final score line of 29-10.
With two of Hornet’s promotion rivals drawing with each other, the bonus point win enabled Hornets to close the gaps on the leaders. On Saturday, they entertain Wadebridge at the Nest and will hoping to continue their winning run.