Hornets start the new season with away victoryS

Hornets v Barnstaple.

Hornets v Barnstaple. - Credit: Archant

Hornets started the new season with an away victory at Cleve.

Cleve 27 pts

Hornets 38 pts

HORNETS kicked of their second season in National League 3 South West and returned home with a fine victory at Cleve.

For the first time, every member of the 18 match day squad was a product of the junior section. Add to this the fact that new coach, Jack Gadd, also started with the club as an eight-year-old, it is safe to say that something at the club is being done well when it comes to producing players.

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The average age of the side is also around 22, with the only player over the age of 25 being newly-appointed first team captain Robert Dempsey.

However, the start to the day was not too bright. Cleve kicked off and Courtney Harris failed to take the ball cleanly. Cleve pounced, recycled the ball and immediately won a penalty for a 3-0 lead, which was soon doubled with another penalty.

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A tremendous catch of a clearing kick by Conor Littlewood saw Hornets get on the front foot. A penalty resulted which they kicked to touch and then drove over from the line-out, with Kade Dillon claiming the try from the back of the maul.

Cleve were immediately back on the attack and won another penalty which they missed. The hosts extended their lead after a series of missed tackles and a couple of offloads and a try followed to give Cleve an 11-6 lead.

Hornets started to put some phases together and quickly scored two tries. Littlewood made a break and fed Joseph Gadd who made good ground. At the resulting breakdown Littlewood went to the blindside and Craig Nichols snuck in to score.

A penalty soon followed which again went to the corner. Again the pack drove over and again Dillon scored a try. This time Jermaine Jones registered the conversion and Hornets led 11-17.

They lost the initiative temporarily when Jones was sin binned at the breakdown and Cleve added a penalty before half-time to make the score 14-17 at the break.

Cleve then started the second half strongly and again kicked three points to bring the score level. This sparked Hornets into action and the forwards won clean ball at the line-out and Chris Francis peeled off the drive and crashed over to score.

A further try came when the pack pushed a scrum to within inches of the line and when the ball was moved, Adam Francis fed Jones who crashed over and Hornets were clear.

Cleve were not done and added a further try before Jones scored again, which he converted to give a 22-38 lead.

A bad injury to one of Cleve’s front row delayed the game and with 10 minutes to go, the match was moved to another pitch. Hornets continued in the ascendency, but it was Cleve who registered the final score to make the result an impressive 27-38 win for the visitors.

Hornets will be pleased with the result, but have plenty to work on before welcoming Dings Crusaders to the Nest on Saturday.

Hornets Development XV 41 pts

Oldfield Old Boys 17 pts

THE Development team entertained Oldfield Old Boys for their first match in the Tribute Somerset Premier League.

After a passage of good play, Oldfield took the lead with a penalty. A powerful run by Bailey Jackson offloaded to Mark Sheridan to score the first try, but Oldfield replied with a converted try to lead 10-5 at half-time.

After the break, Hornets were rewarded instantly when good hands from Stuart Vinnicombe set Andrew Wheller free and Adam Vaughan was able to cross for his first try of the day.

Soon after, James Letherby put a well weighted crossfield kick for Vinnicombe to beat his opposite number and give Hornets a 15-10 lead. Oldfield were not done at this point and retook the lead with a converted try.

This was the last time Oldfield were to trouble the scoreboard, with Hornets scoring four unanswered tries, one for Connor Davidson and three for Vaughan to take his tally of the match to four, allowing Hornets to run out 41-17 victors.

Special mention to the front five who were able to get the better of a well-drilled Oldfield pack, Letherby for a superb second half performance and finally to the whole squad who start the season with a big win.

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