Hornets’ youngsters impress at Brixham

Hornets v Bournemouth.

Hornets v Bournemouth. - Credit: Archant

A young Hornets side gave a creditable performance in a difficult trip to Brixham.

Brixham 28 pts

Hornets 8 pts

POSSIBLY the youngest-ever Hornets first team took to the field in what was always going to be a difficult trip to Devon to take on Brixham.

In fact, the starting backline was made up of two 18-years-olds, three 19-year-olds and the experience coming in the form of two 22-year-olds.

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Brixham immediately applied pressure to the Hornets defence and they quickly turned the pressure into points. The Hornets defence gave away two penalties in quick succession and the second resulted in a line-out and a driving maul which saw the Brixham pack drive over to score.

Brixham broke through again, this time their backs breaking the defence and moving the ball wide for their winger to score in the corner to give a 12-0 lead.

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A further score nearly followed, but this time Tom Bradley was on hand to make a try-saving tackle. After the initial dominance of the home side, Hornets slowly but surely edged their way into the game.

Adam Francis showed maturity beyond his years, particularly in defence and brother Chris showed an impressive work rate as well as a large number of tackles. Their resilience was rewarded just before half-time when Jermaine Jones kicked a penalty.

After the break, Brixham scored two further tries. First their impressive winger sprinted around the sluggish defence and then the pack rampaged through the middle and their prop scored under the posts to make the score 28-3.

Hornets were now on the back foot and injuries to Courtney Harris and Ross Cheeseborough forced Hornets into changes. Youngsters Conor Baker and Kieron Ward joined the fray, as did Steve Thompson making a welcome return to Hornets squad.

With the various changes being made, Hornets showed great character and put together some of the best phases of rugby seen this season. Sonny Haines was leading by example in the front row and giving front foot ball in the loose and the back row of Joe Smith, Dexter Nettleton and Ramaz Rukhadze took the battle to Brixham.

First Ward burst through and when a try looked certain, inexplicably passed to Sam Balkham, who dropped the ball over the line, and then Rukhadze broke from a maul and crashed over to give Hornets the final say of the day.

Despite the scoreline, the game had seen a creditable performance from the travelling squad. The final score was 28-8.

Hornets must now focus on Saturday’s visit to The Nest of Oxford Harlequins. Oxford should know the way, having lost at Weston last week.

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