Hornets remain top

Hornetsv Matson.

Hornetsv Matson. - Credit: Archant

Hornets remain top of the league after a tough away victory at Matson.

Matson 19 pts

Hornets 31 pts

AFTER the Christmas break and two tough cup games, Hornets got back into league action with a tough away fixture at Matson.

Having lost here in last year’s campaign, Hornets were keen to impose themselves from the off. Matson controlled the early encounters as Hornets took time to settle. The hosts were competitive in the loose and at the breakdown, but Hornets’ front five soon took control of the scrum.

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A turnover in the set piece inside the Matson half saw No 8 Speller break down the blindside and his pace carried him into the Matson 22. A deft backhand inside pass to scrum-half Disney enabled him to touch down near the posts Jones added the conversion and Hornets were seven points to the good.

From the restart, Matson drove into Hornets territory. An infringement allowed them to kick for the corner the take and drive was initially halted, but they recycled the ball twice more to score close in. The extras were added to even the scores.

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Hornets came back strongly they pushed deep into the Matson 22. Bradley was deemed held up over the line and the resulting scrum saw Hornets drive the Matson pack over for Speller to touch down, only for the ref to give a knock on.

With the pressure still on the Matson line and a two-man overlap Hornets looked certain to score, but the Matson winger read the move, picked off an interception and ran the length of the pitch to score. An easy conversion put them 14-7 up somewhat against the run of play.

From the restart Matson received their first yellow card of the afternoon. Leatherby kicked to the corner for Hornets to score with their successful driving maul routine, with Chase touching down his 20th try of the season as the visitors trailed 14-12 at the break.

The second half started with Matson on the attack even though still a man short, they forced a line-out and the take and drive saw them extend their lead to 19-12.

Hornets replied quickly when Jones finished off a good crossfield move to score out wide. Leatherby started to get his tactical kicking game going, enabling Hornets to keep the pressure on the Matson defence.

As Matson tried to respond in kind, Cheeseborough charged down a Matson clearance. He kicked ahead into the Matson 22 and Leatherby was on hand to touch down for the bonus point try, with Jones adding the extras.

A rash challenge by the Matson scrum-half led to the referee showing him a yellow card. The resulting penalty allowed Hornets to opt for the scrum, the drive and control was good allowing Speller to dot down. Jones added the conversion for the final points of the afternoon.

Hornets now top the league by one point, but have a game in hand on their nearest rivals Barton Hill.

North Bristol are the visitors to the nest on Saturday with Hornets looking to avenge a 23-18 defeat at Oaklands back in September. Kick-off will be at 2.30pm.

Hornets 2nd XV 20 pts

Weston 3rd XV 44 pts

ON a very cold wintery afternoon, Weston arrived with a strong side and went away the victors, thanks to their strong forwards.

The visitors scored an early converted try, but Hornets hit back with a score for Middlemiss. Weston extended their lead with a penalty and a try, but Hornets scored again with a try for Carter, making it 15-10 to Weston at the break.

In the second half, the hosts were first to score through Cox, but Weston replied with three tries, two of them converted. Owen crossed for a try before Hornets were reduced to 13 men, after two yellow cards.

Weston made good use of the extra players, and crossed the line a further two times, extras being added both times as Hornets lost their undefeated home record.

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