Hornets’ win takes them a stepl closer to title
HORNETS welcomed the Minehead Barbarians to Hutton Moor Park on Saturday for a game that was undoubtedly a potential banana skin in their attempts to win the title.
In the reverse fixture back in December Minehead had forced a draw in the dying minutes of the game, and they remain the only team to have taken a share of the spoils in the league against Hornets this season. Therefore Hornets knew if they were to retain their lead, over nearest rivals Chard, they would have to produce a performance worthy of their talents. This they did, recording a 31-17 victory.
From the outset both teams came out of the blocks firing and were intent on running the ball and mounting attacks from all areas of the pitch. It was the hosts who opened their account first, John Ferguson running in the first try.
The visitors were a tougher outfit than others which have visited the Hornets’ nest this season and fought straight back with a try from their scrum half, Martin Cook.
With the scores level, both sides were fearful of giving anything away and both were determined to get the next score. Solid defence prevented any further scores until Hornets won a lineout deep in opposition territory. The ball was passed out to the backs where Stu Vinnicombe came off his wing to score another try from what has become his trademark move. Lloyd-Jones added the extras.
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Hornets were now starting to gain the upper hand and were soon on the scoresheet again. With the forwards building from deep in their own half, Hornets pushed up field. Several effective phases of play later they produced a
platform in the Baa Baa’s 22 and a driving maul set up from slow ball was stopped a couple of yards out. Nick Francis was able to dig out the ball and went on the blind to score on the fringe. Lloyd-Jones added the conversion.
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An error of judgement then saw Adam Vaughan handle on the floor and he duly received a yellow card. The resulting penalty was kicked to the corner and the lineout was won by the visitors. This gave their hooker Kerran Straker the chance to touchdown out wide to close the gap. Hornets turned around 19-10 ahead.
The second period started with Hornets running at the heart of their opponents defence. In doing so, they forced a penalty in a carbon copy of the incident that saw Vaughan dispatched to the bin, but fortunately for the infringing Minehead player he did not suffer the same fate. Nick Francis took the penalty quickly and ran straight though the middle of a stunned defence to score under the posts. Within five minutes Hornets were again crossing the whitewash, as Matt Parker picked up at the back of the scrum and ran through three defenders to score.
Lloyd-Jones added the extras and Hornets were now in total control, or so it seemed. They had won several scrums against the head and were dominating the lineout. However, as has happened on several occasions this season, the players took their feet off the gas once they had reached a winning position. This meant the remainder of the game was fairly lacklustre, with the hosts doing just enough to stay in front.
The only further score went to Don Westcott, of Minehead, who ran in from wide out to score a consolation try.
With three games remaining and an eight point advantage over Chard, Hornets have a chance of winning the league this weekend when they make the trip to their nearest rivals in a top-of-the-table clash which both teams will be going all out to win. The match kicks off at 3pm and all supporters are encouraged to make the journey to help the team.