Hornets register first National League victory in Devon
- Credit: Archant
Hornets won their first National League match in Devon, thumping Brixham 41-6 in a fine performance.
Brixham 6 pts
Hornets 41 pts
HORNETS travelled to high-flying Brixham knowing they needed to put in a strong performance if they were going to take anything from the game.
What followed was not only Hornets’ first National League win in Devon, but according to head coach Jack Gadd, the side’s best performance since his involvement with the team started, dating back four years to when they were playing in Tribute Western Counties North.
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Hornets travelled without four of their core squad and the result was testament to the strength that is starting to be developed in this young squad. Again only three members of the match day squad were over 23 years.
With the weather closing in, Hornets kicked off and with the wind and rain against them initially struggled to clear their lines. The early Brixham pressure saw them register two early penalties to take a 6-0 lead after 16 minutes.
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With their backs against the wall, Ross Cheesborough broke the line and cantered into the Brixham half. He offloaded to Charlie Carter who slipped just short of the line. Kieron Ward was on hand to carry and Courtney Harris smashed his way over for their first try, converted by Kieron Hill.
The visitors defended tremendously for the remainder of the half and Hill added a penalty to take the visitors into the break with a 10-6 lead.
Hornets started the second half in explosive fashion. Sean Disney made a great kick into the corner and the Hornets pack put pressure on the Brixham line-out. As they tried to kick clear, Ward charged down the kick, juggled the ball before offloading to Dexter Nettleton to score.
From then on Hornets dominated. Despite Brixham’s higher league position, they appeared to have no answer to Hornets’ speed and quality of execution.
The forwards were enjoying their afternoon in the loose with Sonny Haines, Ward, Harris and man of the match Matthew Parker punching holes in the Brixham defence.
The next try came after over 10 phases of play and resulted in Chris Francis crashing over for the third try of the afternoon.
With Hornets’ scrum led by Conor Baker and Haines now dominant, the Brixham pack found themselves going backwards on a regular basis. The bonus point try soon followed. Hill, having his best game for Hornets to date, made space for himself and offloaded to Carter, who sprinted over to score.
By now, the large travelling Hornets fans were enjoying themselves and the side responded by putting on a show of slick and well-executed rugby in the last 20 minutes, which left the home side longing for the final whistle.
First Parker scored from a pushover scrum and then Carter added his second to make the final score 41-6. This was a very impressive result for a team that were searching for their first National League win in Devon.
With the other leading teams also registering good wins, Hornets’ victory merely keeps them in the race to catch the top three teams. If they can keep up this level of form, the teams above them will need to keep a close look over their shoulder.