Hornets outgunned at Cleve

Sean Disney.

Sean Disney. - Credit: Archant

Promoted Hornets found the going tough as they went down to a strong Cleve side.

CLEVE 31 pts

HORNETS 15 pts

HORNETS kicked off their 2013 South West Division One League campaign with a trip to Cleve.

Cleve have invested heavily in strengthening their squad over the summer and they are open about their ambitions of promotion to the National League.

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This opening fixture was always going to be a stern challenge for Hornets’ mainly home grown squad, with over 80 per cent of the match day squad having come through the Hornets mini and junior section.

The first 10 minutes saw Hornets using all their defensive capabilities and the early pressure saw Cleve kick a penalty to give them a 3-0 lead.

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Despite the pressure Hornets responded well. They pressed Cleve back towards their own half, and Chase was able to break from a ruck and make useful metres. He found Jack Gadd in support, who drew the defenders and timed his pass to perfection to release Bradley to score in the corner and give Hornets a 5-3 lead.

Both sides missed penalties, but Cleve scored a try in the corner. However, Hornets were not finished and Cornish was stopped just short of the line.

Moments later, Parker burst off the back of a scrum on his own 22. This time support was on hand and Parker got his pass away to Jack Gadd, who quickly moved the ball to brother Joe Gadd.

He offloaded to Cornish who made 10 metres and this time elected to feed Bradley, who again outpaced the defence for a try out wide. The conversion from Disney put Hornets into a 12-10 half-time lead.

Having finished the first half strongly, Hornets were soon on the back foot in the second half. A deliberate knock-on enabled Cleve to slot a penalty for a 13-12 lead. An offside decision and then failure to retreat 10 metres led to a further three points.

Things went from bad to worse when first Disney and then Kent were punished with yellow cards, leaving Hornets reduced to 13 men for 10 minutes.

Grimes and Cheesborough came of the bench and both did well, but with the two-man advantage, Cleve quickly forced a further penalty to go 19-12 in front and then the killer blow of a try before the end of the sin bin saw them 24-12 in front.

Once back to full strength, Hornets rallied and were next to score through a Letherby drop goal. But Cleve kept coming to the end and registered a final try to give a final score line of 31-15.

Overall a decent first outing, but some lessons will need to be learned quickly if Hornets are going to match the intensity they will come up against in this league.

On Saturday, Hornets host Clevedon in a local derby will need to be very focused on registering their first win.

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