Hornets victorious in Somerset Cup final
PUBLISHED: 09:42 04 May 2018
Hornets captured the Somerset Cup after hanging on with just 12 players in a close final against Bath University.
Hornets 22 pts
Bath University 19 pts
The Somerset Cup final was held at Hornets after Bath University agreed, sportingly, to play at Hornets’ home ground on the artificial pitch.
After a day of heavy rain, the decision was a great one as the conditions were perfect for a fast-running game.
Hornets, for the first time this season were the older team, as the students from Bath came with a reputation for flowing, attacking rugby.
The black and ambers started brightly with surging runs by Harris, Brake and Denton. Hornets kept attacking and eventually after a scrum close to Bath’s line, they passed the ball out wide and Bailey went over in the corner, converted by Humphris.
Bath, from the restart, applied their own pressure recycled quickly and broke through and converted to level the scores.
After a penalty kick to the five-metre line, Aplin’s throw was collected by Denton who along with his forwards formed the maul. The ball moved to Brake and he looked sure to score before Pape assisted and managed to ground the ball for a well-worked try.
Bath again pressed but Hornets’ defence was solid. When Aplin stole the ball deep in Hornets 22 another penalty went to Hornets and this time Adam Francis took a quick tap and set off.
The scrambling defence did their best but another penalty was awarded. A kick to the corner and an illegal collapse in the line-out and this time the referee issued his yellow card.
With a one-man advantage, Hornets elected to take the scrum and when Disney spotted a gap, the scrum-half went in untouched, giving a simple conversion for Humphris and a 12-point lead for Hornets going into the second half.
Bath came out with a different game plan in the second half and it paid dividends as it was the Uni side who had all the ball and pressure and Hornets found themselves defending desperately.
The defence was outstanding, but Hornets found themselves on the wrong side of the referee and Disney was carded. Brake was soon to follow and with Hornets down to 13 men, Bath sensed a score.
Their pick-and-drive game worked and they were able to breech the defence to make the scores 19-12.
From the restart, Alex Francis collected the kick and Hornets were on the attack, Dempsey and Carter were causing all sorts of trouble for Bath and when a penalty was awarded to Hornets, Humphris kicked for goal to make it 22-12.
Again Hornets were on the attack until Adam Francis was adjudged to having committed foul play and he became the third Hornet sitting on the naughty chair. With Hornets down to 12 men, things looked bleak.
Bath set up a series of phases and got close to Hornets’ line, but could not cross until with two minutes to go, they managed a converted try.
Hornets stepped up their game again and the ball was won and recycled in Bath’s 22 and the ball was hoofed into touch and Hornets were crowned champions.
This was a well-deserved victory for Hornets who have had tough time this year and look forward to new adventures next season.
Although a step back next season, this team will build and come back stronger as everything is in place for the campaign, both on and off the pitch, with many clubhouse projects in the pipeline and some old faces returning to the club.
Captain Rob Dempsey is holding the cup, having received it from Somerset president Andy Shorney who also presented the man of the match award to Matt Denton.