Hornets move up a place after away victory
- Credit: Archant
Hornets moved up to fourth place in the league after an excellent away victory over third-placed Bracknell.
Bracknell 35 pts
Hornets 40 pts
HORNETS travelled to Bracknell for a challenging game against one of the league’s top sides and came away with a narrow victory.
Going into the game Bracknell sat in third position and Hornets fifth. Hornets were facing the additional challenge that despite their successful season, they were yet to register a win away from The Nest against any of the league’s top four sides.
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Hornets started strongly turning the ball over at the kick-off and putting the home pack under pressure at the first scrum. An early period of sustained pressure saw Adam Francis scythe through a gap to score under the posts. Jermaine Jones converted for an early 7-0 lead.
Bracknell struck back immediately with a penalty and just when the home side looked to be getting the upper hand, Sean Disney intercepted the ball off the back of a line-out and ran in from 50 metres to score Hornets’ second try. Jones again converted for a 14-3 lead.
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The next 10 minutes saw Bracknell come back into the game and wrestle the lead from Hornets through two tries which both saw line breaks as a result of poor tackles and Bracknell found themselves with a 17-14 lead.
But back came Hornets again as Francis again broke the line and Charlie Carter took advantage to score under the post. Jones converted and Hornets lead 21-14 on the half-hour.
Bracknell registered another penalty to get back to within a point, Francis scored a second converted try and then Bracknell scored again on the stroke of half-time to make the score 28-25 to the visitors.
The second half carried on as the first with both teams playing open 15-man rugby. It was Bracknell who started strongest, their pack starting to gain the upper hand, and scored first through a converted try.
Hornets bounced back again the pack made good ground from a line-out and quick ball found James Letherby, who put in a tremendous miss pass to Jones on the wing, who crashed over to make it 33-32 to Hornets with less than 10 minutes to play.
Bracknell returned to the Hornets 22 and sustained pressure led to a penalty and the home side retaking the lead.
Hornets remained determined to play open running rugby. The forwards made good ground and twice skipper Chris Francis turned down kickable penalties and elected for scrums.
At first this looked like a missed chance to take the lead, but on the second occasion the scrum was won and the ball moved wide to Sam Balkham, who rounded the defence and scored under the posts to give Hornets a 40-35 lead.
They came close to extending their lead through further scrums, following Bracknell being reduced to 14 men, and then in what was a finale typical of the match found themselves holding on as the clock ticked down.
Hornets rise to fourth place in the league and on Saturday visit Old Centralians, who are hot on their heels, before the big match of the season on April 11 when Weston visit The Nest in what is likely to be a vital game to determine whether Weston have any chance of surviving relegation.