Hornets put up a brave fight in national final
Hornets Colts 12 pts Bedford Blues Academy 55 pts - A POWERFUL and well-drilled Bedford Blues team ran out deserved 55-12 winners in this National Colts final at the superb Franklin.s Gardens in Northampton.
Hornets Colts 12 pts
Bedford Blues Academy 55 pts
A POWERFUL and well-drilled Bedford Blues team ran out deserved 55-12 winners in this National Colts final at the superb Franklin's Gardens in Northampton.
However, it was not until the final quarter that they pulled away, scoring 24 points in the last 10 minutes.
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Hornets, with their home grown players and with 12 first year colts in the starting line-up were up against a side that according to the programme notes had 'nine squad members involved in training with the Blues Championship players and a number with international or regional honours'.
The game started with Bedford having the majority of the play in the first 10 minutes, which resulted in a try for winger Kelsall to score under the posts for the first of his three tries. The kick was converted.
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Hornets almost scored just after when Reece Watson was just short of the try line after an interception. It was the 24th minute before the next score, when Bedford again used Kelsall through the middle for a repeat of his first try. This was again converted.
A couple of minutes later Hornets scored a converted try when Matt Cornish outstripped the Bedford cover before scoring under the posts. Watson made it 14-7. With Hornets again pressing, the forwards took a good line-out and executed a 10 metre rolling maul only to be held up over the line. Bedford had infringed so Hornets were awarded the penalty, but accidently knocked on a quickly taken penalty.
The last few minutes of the half resulted in Bedford being awarded a penalty to make the half time score 17-7.
The second half saw Hornets taking the game to Bedford. During this time, Hornets had to re-jig their back line, Cornish moved up to fly-half after Harry Simmons was injured.
Hornets were unlucky not to be on level terms when a pass from Cornish put Ali O'Connor under the posts was adjudged to be forward. Shortly afterwards Bedford broke out from their own goal line, and some poor tackling allowed them to score. This was in effect a 14 point swing that meant that instead of being level, Hornets now had to chase the game.
Five minutes later Bedford broke quickly down the left and their winger crossed for Bedford to go into a 31-7 lead.
Cornish scored a second try to make it 31-12 after clever interplay with Tom Bradley. However, he was injured in the process of scoring after a late challenge from a Bedford defender.
Hornets were now playing with their third fly-half of the day, Sean Disney and now had their complete bench on, with seven injured players on the sidelines.
With this severe disruption against a side of Bedford's quality, it was going to be difficult to hold out, hence the escalation of points in the last 10 minutes.
Hornets have their Somerset Cup final with Bath and then can look forward to a short rest before starting again next season.
Most are still eligible for next season, but all will now be available for the seniors and may be able to bring a new look to the first team.
Players and coaches would like to thank all the sponsors who made it possible to treat the players to the best possible preparation and all the supporters who came, turning it into a home fixture.