League leaders stung by Hornets
- Credit: Archant
Hornets defeated league leaders St Austell, despite not having played for three weeks.
HORNETS 30 pts
ST AUSTELL 24 pts
AFTER three weeks without a game due to the weather, Hornets were straight back in at the deep end with the visit of league leaders St Austell to The Nest.
St Austell kicked off and Hornets were immediately under pressure as no-one gathered the ball cleanly. However, they regained their composure and forced a penalty turnover.
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Letherby found touch and Hornets set up a driving maul, but St Austell brought it to an illegal stop and Letherby opened the scoring with a penalty. St Austell bounced straight back and slotted a penalty of therir own to draw level.
Hornets hit a purple patch and found the type of expansive 15-man rugby that has maintained them among the pace setters in the league. The first of three quick tries came from a line-out and driving maul.
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The forwards’ solid platform provided good clean ball for the backs. Disney spotted a gap and put a clever kick behind the St Austell defence. The covering defender made a mess of gathering the ball and Carter pounced on the loose ball to score.
The forwards immediately regained possession and. Parker broke from the back of the scrum and forced his way over the gain line before slipping a pass to Disney. He moved the ball to Cornish who found a gap a surged over for his first of the afternoon.
Hornets had St Austell on the ropes and a turnover led to a further try, and the best of the afternoon. Quick ball from the turnover released Cornish, he moved the ball to Joe Gadd who made ground and found Parker in support.
As the defence struggled to halt the attack, Parker offloaded to the supporting Cornish who sped over for his second and Hornets’ third try.
With a 20-3 lead after 20 minutes, Hornets should have finished the visitors off and put the game beyond doubt. They came close as Haines went on a surging run and Carter was almost released for what would have been the killer try.
St Austell gained possession and battered away at Hornets’ line. At first the defence held strong, but it was worn down and a try eventually came and at the same time a yellow card for captain Kent for his attempts to prevent the score.
The defensive efforts seemed to drain Hornets and St Austell attacked again and first added a penalty and then a further try to draw the score back to 20-18.
It was now Hornets who were on the ropes and with their confidence appearing to have deserted them, they desperately needed to hold on for half-time, which they did.
The second half was a messy affair. The teams exchanged penalties and with 10 minutes to go, the game was evenly balanced at 23-21. It was then Hornets who made the critical breakthrough.
The pack made good ground and the backs were released. They chose to go wide and found Cornish with just enough room to squeeze over in the corner to complete his hat-trick and an impressive overall performance.
Importantly, Letherby converted from the touchline and Hornets had a 30-21 lead with less than five minutes to go. St Austell came back with a penalty of their own, but it was too late and the match finished 30-24 to the home side.
This was a massive result for Hornets, who keep their ambitions of National League rugby next season alive. Saturday sees an away trip to Thornbury and the chance to keep up the pressure on the leaders.