Hornets run out narrow winners with 14 men

Rugby Hornetsv Dings,

Rugby Hornetsv Dings, - Credit: Archant

Hornets recorded another victory, this time over Old Redcliffians, despite having a player sent off just after half-time.

Old Redcliffians 10 pts

Hornets 17 pts

HORNETS’ tightness as a team again saw them through to register an impressive win in a game they trailed until the 70th minute and played most of the second half with only 14 men.

Old Reds were immediately were on the attack and careless errors from the visitors led to a series of penalties, but could not convert.

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Hornets looked the stronger at the early scrums and as the game went on they became increasingly dominant against the experienced home pack.

While the forwards, and in particular the front row of Sony Haines, Chris Francis and Conor Baker, were more than holding their own in a physical battle up front, Hornets could not get any traction in the backs and a series of errors would also prove to be a trait of the game.

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With scuffles breaking out in the forwards, Chris Francis was sent to the sin bin and Old Reds opened the scoring with a penalty. With Hornets down to 14 men, the home side pushed home the advantage and registering the opening try and conversion for a 10-0 lead.

The Hornets pack were meeting the opposition head on and in the loose Courtney Harris was leading by example with great support from the back row of Kade Dillon, Joe Smith and Matt Parker.

Joseph Gadd was forced to leave the field when he collected a clearance and ran the ball back, but having made 30 metres and beating three defenders he was met by an almighty hit which left him dazed.

Despite the setback, Hornets won a penalty at the resulting scrum, kicked for touch and the forwards rumbled over for Dillon to score to make it 10-5 to the home side at the break.

Hornets started the second half well, but suffered a further setback when Conor Littlewood had a moment of madness and was shown a red card for a series of punches that saw the home side hooker also having to leave the field.

Down to 14 men, Hornets had to regroup and Old Reds had a series of attacks, but the defence held firm. With the attacks repelled, Hornets started to grow in confidence and the fitness of the young squad was starting to show.

With the visiting scrum now dominating, the pack won a penalty, Disney took it quickly and the ball was moved through Adam Francis to Jermaine Jones, who scored in the corner to bring the scores level.

Charlie Carter collected the kick-off and kicked clear. As Old Reds ran the ball back Josh Hallett held up the attacker and won a turnover. A penalty was won at the resulting scrum, Hornets made ground and when Old Reds were awarded a scrum on their 22, Hornets won it against the head and Chris Francis crashed over under the posts for a try which Jones converted for a lead of 17-10.

Old Reds were not done yet and Hornets’ defence was called upon in the dying minutes, first Dexter Nettleton won a turnover at the breakdown and then a great covering tackle by Carter guaranteed the victory.

Having beaten all three Bristol clubs in the opening three games of the season, Hornets will now look forward to welcoming Lydney to The Nest. The tough games keep coming thick and fast and next Saturday should be not exception with Lydney relegated from National League 2 last season known for their physicality.

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