Hornets off the pace against Old Redcliffians
PUBLISHED: 09:08 16 January 2015 | UPDATED: 09:08 16 January 2015
Hornets lost their fixture at Old Redcliffians, their first match in a month.
Old Redcliffians 21 pts
Hornets 14 pts
AFTER a month without a game Hornets made the short trip to Brislington for what they knew would be a challenging fixture against Old Reds.
Missing several players for a variety of reasons, Hornets were right to be concerned as they came up against an experienced and street wise side that despite starting the day in the bottom three, were obviously focused of avenging the defeat at The Nest earlier in the season and appeared to have a plan as to how to achieve it.
Focused was not a description that could be used for Hornets. Rusty would be a polite description, but more accurately they were off the pace all afternoon and came second in every department of the game.
Hornets started with some early possession, but straight away the signs were not good as their play lacked penetration. Old Reds had a period of possession and a series of missed tackles resulted in a penalty for the home side and an early 3-0 lead.
A further penalty to Old Reds followed at a scrum and with the wind behind them Alex Groves at fly-half slotted his second penalty for 6-0.
Hornets wrestled their way back into the game and a break from Rob Demspey, who fed Phil Hogarth put Hornets on the front foot and allowed Ross Cheeseborough to break clear, but when a try looked on, he misdirected his pass to a defender.
Hornets also started to get on top at the scrum for a period, but when a kickable penalty was awarded, Jermaine Jones was unable to find the target.
Hornets’ afternoon took a turn for the worse with Conor Littlewood being forced from the field with an injury. He was replaced by Charlie Carter standing in at scrum-half. Carter’s arrival did however see Hornets best move of the afternoon.
Hogarth marshalled a maul from a line-out and when the ball was moved wide, Sam Balkham straightened the attack and fed Mark Wheller who broke the defence, before feeding Dempsey to cross. Jones added the extras for a 6-7 lead.
However it did not last. Old Reds immediately hit back with a penalty to give them a 9-7 lead at half-time.
With the advantage of the wind and hill in the second half, Hornets should have made the advantage count, but it was not to be. A series of forward breaks led to the backs breaking free and a long kick through being chased and the Old Reds winger pounced to score and extend the lead to 14-7.
The decisive try came with 10 minutes to go, again from a long kick through and this time the winger was able to gather unopposed and sprint clear to score. The conversion was good and the home side led 21-7.
Hornets showed their fighting spirit towards the end. First Wheller broke clear, only to be illegally hauled down and with only minutes remaining, a series of line-outs enabled the forwards to rumble over and Dave Vivian to touch down for a try which Jones converted in order to secure a losing bonus points for the visitors.
Hornets must regroup quickly in time for the visit of Oxford Harlequins to The Nest on Saturday. There are no easy fixtures in this league and anything other than a win could see the season heading in the wrong direction.