Hornets suffer a difficult day in Devon
- Credit: Archant
Hornets returned from Newton Abbot with nothing to show for their efforts.
Newton Abbot 35 pts
Hornets 22 pts
Hornets had another difficult day on the road, returning from Devon with nothing to show for their efforts.
They will be further concerned that their already depleted squad suffered further injuries which will mean some interesting selection decisions being needed over coming weeks.
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Hornets again started well. On two minutes they were awarded a penalty which they kicked to the corner. The throw was overthrown, but Newton Abbot knocked on and from the resulting scrum Hornets moved the ball through hands to Steve Thompson on the wing to open the scoring.
The Hornets scrum was looking good in the early stages and quickly put the home pack under pressure. For the first 10 minutes the visitors were looking good, but then came the first set back with fly-half Sean Disney limping off with what looked to be a hamstring injury.
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The home side were awarded a penalty, kicked to touch and a quick driving maul saw them score. The try was converted and Newton Abbot led 7-5.
With the game becoming more and more physical, Hornets held their own for the remainder of the first-half. Sam Balkham weaved his way through at one point, but was stopped just short. A penalty at the breakdown was slotted by Charlie Carter to give Hornets a 7-8 lead at the break.
Newton Abbot were clearly not happy with their performance and a frank discussion could be overheard coming from their half time huddle.
Whatever was said certainly worked as Newton Abbot started the second half like a different team and within 10 minutes had blown holes in the Hornets defence which resulted in three converted tries giving them a lead of 28-8 and a further injury to Joseph Gadd, leaving the Hornets backs looking severely stretched.
Hornets looked to be done for the day, but held on desperately for the next 10 minutes. With the home side starting to get frustrated they could not kill the game off, Hornets found a second wind and on the hour, Kieran Ward crashed over from the back of a maul to pull the score back to 28-15.
Following a yellow card shown to the Newton Abbot prop for pulling down another maul, Adam Francis took a quick penalty and picked his way through two injured players to score again.
In the protests that followed, another home player was shown yellow and suddenly the score was 28-22 with Newton Abbot down to 13 men.
Unfortunately at this point, Hornets suffered another injury as they pushed for a further try. This time Thompson was helped from the field and despite having a two-man advantage, Hornets now had two forwards playing in the centre positions.
Things got worse when one of them, Lewis Brake, was shown a yellow himself and as Newton Abbot returned to full strength, they sealed victory with a further try to make the final score 35-22.
On Saturday, Hornets entertain high-flying Old Reds, who this season are looking very strong based on results to date. This will be a tough challenge and the growing list of injuries will make the job all the more difficult.