Wednesday, 11 September 2019

2019 in 30 Paragraphs

Yes, it's that time of year when we review the season. And we've done it by taking a single paragraph from each of our match reports. Relive it all in just 30 Paragraphs.


Rochdale Mayfield 12 - Hornets 18
"A clash of styles was evident as Hornets' structured approach was countered by Mayfield's desire to take risks and go off script - and it made for an entertaining (and occasionally fractious) contest...."

Oldham 24 - Hornets 8
"The raw stats themselves tell a tale where Hornets are a distant second, stragglers in a two-horse race. And if the stats don't lie, they also act as a brutal metaphor for Sunday's game at the Vestacare, where Hornets looked second best in every department."

Hornets 6 - Toronto Wolfpack 58
"Toronto Wolfpack rolled in like the circus it is: all 'look at me' fanfare, big-time Charlies and the dead-eyed joy of a bloke cracking a whip at a broken lion for the hundredth time to meagre squeals of sadistic delight."

Toulouse Olympique 42 - Hornets 12
"People will just look at the scoreline here and make a judgement - but they'll be wrong. Mostly because they weren't actually there to see this game unfold."

Batley 18 - Hornets 12
"... it would be too uncharitable to just complain. Hornets' work-rate was excellent and the defence was pretty solid bar the extreme edges. Indeed, the effort was there for all to see - it just deserved the reward of more incisive football off the back of it."

Hornets 20 - Barrow 8
"Satisfying was Swinton's late, late choking at Halifax which leaves Hornets out of the bottom two and breathing hard down Batley and Dewsbury's necks. A launch pad for the rest of the season?"

Leigh 46 - Hornets 6
"In a first half car-crash of back-pedalling and penalties, Hornets looked stunned in the headlights: Richardson directing traffic as the game slid inexorably - inevitably, even - away from Hornets..."

Hornets 4 - Widnes 50
"Hornets were reduced to bit-part players as the hand-wringing League media focused on how a criminally mis-managed club that's burned millions of pounds could haul itself back to zero points by beating a fan-owned team of part-timers in their own back-yard."

Whitehaven 21 - Hornets 22
"On 70 minutes 'Haven's Forrester took the inevitable drop goal and, when Moore added yet another penalty on 74 minutes, it looked like a done deal at 21-12. But wait..."

Hornets 24 - Halifax 48
"Hornets  started with a bang, Lee Mitchell hitting a short-ball at pace after just two minutes to glide under the black dot. Abram the extras - and on target again with a penalty five minutes later to give Hornets a comfortable 8-nil lead."

Salford 76 - Hornets 6
"By some distance the highlight of the second half was the banter between the Hornets fans and the poor frozen in-goal judge at the Western End who had - literally - nothing to do and even went for a pee at one point."

Swinton 36 - Hornets 22 
"It took the hosts just four minutes to get themselves over when they applied pressure on the Hornets defence, using quick hands to ship the ball out wide to Butt - the first of his four tries that ensured that the Lions came away 36-22 winners in the baking Manchester sun..."

Hornets 16 - Sheffield 52 
"Whilst it turned into a comfortable afternoon for the Eagles, it certainly didn’t begin that way as the hosts enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges. Carl Forster’s try, converted by Dan Abram, had the Hornets in front, but the Eagles were quick to respond..."

Bradford 56 - Hornets 12
"Determined defence from Hornets denied Bradford multiple times - and they caught the Bulls out with Ellis Gillam finding his way over to extend Hornets' lead to 12-0..."

Hornets 10 - Featherstone 56
"Those anticipating some sort of messianic miracle were instantly disappointed: Hornets started the game with a knock-on and 45 seconds later Rovers rake King slumped in from acting half. Chisholm added the extras and Fev were up and running."

Blackpool: Hornets 30 - Swinton 40
"Having crackled with invention and ideas before the break, Hornets spent the second 40 minutes running through treacle - whereas Swinton found their feet, gained momentum and sped away..."

Barrow 54 - Hornets 10
"Hornets clung scrappily to the coat-tails of the game for 10 minutes, but the half ended in a blitz of points up the right edge as their confidence crumbled..."

Batley 38 - Hornets 18
"From a Hornets point of view, the damage was done in the third quarter of the game when Batley plodded four tries up the hill in just 15 minutes to leave Hornets chasing the shadow of the ghost of a game that wasn't really there any more."

Dewsbury Rams 66 - Hornets 10
"All-up this was a mess. Hornets effectively background scenery as Dewsbury racked up some scary stats: eleven tries, eleven goals; biggest win in 10 years; gifted 13 penalties, Finn hitting his career 500 point mark. As always we try and wring out some positives, but there were none."

York 66 - Hornets nil
"Not so much a contest, More a hard-to-watch procession, as Hornets shipped eleven tries two weeks in succession."

Sheffield Eagles 42 - Hornets 24
"This was a massively improved performance, impacted on by a freak try before the break and a third-quarter where Sheffield found their playing boots. Other than that, Hornets matched - if not bettered - a fairly prosaic Sheffield for long periods of this game."

Hornets 28 - Swinton 36
"Hornets sought to drive the ball out of yardage, but - with Swinton hands all over the ball - Dan Abram was deemed to have knocked on. And as the hooter sounded, Swinton shipped the ball wide to Butt who sealed the game for the Lions."

Widnes 40 - Hornets 12
"The remaining 18 minutes of the game were reduced to a prodding contest. Widnes happy to jab Hornets back into the corners: Hornets poking and pushing, with little to show until Callum Marriott crashed in for a 79th minute consolation try."

Hornets nil - Toulouse Olympique 68
"Hornets provided a literal zero resistance to an, admittedly, bigger, stronger, faster full-time opposition - but it was the flaccid manner of the defeat that leaves a punch-drunk hardcore of fans contemplating the route to West Wales Raiders next year."

Fev 50 - Hornets 6
"The Hornets faithful applauded and headed for the car-park: partly disappointed in another defeat, partly relieved that this soul-sapping season is pretty much all over."

Hornets 12 - Dewsbury 32
"This was the archetypal game of two halves - and not in a good way. Hornets led 12-8 at the break and looked good value for that, but an error-strewn second period where Dewsbury scored three tries in nine minutes saw the game simply washed away as the heavens opened."

Hornets 26 - Batley 50
"There was hope amongst the long-suffering Hornets faithful that this game just might yield the last opportunity for a win this season, but - again - they had to stoically swallow what little faith they have remaining and make do with applauding a 'brave effort'."

Hornets 18 - Leigh 50
"If games lasted 40 minutes, Hornets would be looking forward to another season in the Championship next year. But they don't. And we're not."

Toronto Wolfpack 46 - Hornets nil
"It was an evenly-matched opening to the contest, with  Hornets holding firm in defence early and creating several chances within the first twenty minutes. Eventually however, the Wolfpack managed to break the lines and open the scoring through fullback Gareth O’Brien"

Halifax 58 - Hornets nil
"Once again, the dwindling Hornets faithful had a literal nothing to cheer as a half-paced Halifax jogged through the motions - which was ample enough effort as Hornets looked brittle on defence and a bit one dimensional on attack.:

Bradford 82 - Hornets nil
"Take nothing away from Bradford: they're strong, fast and well-drilled - and having scored with their first carry of the ball after just 90 seconds, they went through the playbook with all the intensity of a training run after a heavy weekend."

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Thanks for Nothing.

Hornets nil - Bradford 82.

There is a quite literal nothing good to say about this game.

Hornets saved their worst performance of the season for last, shipping 15 tries and copping a third consecutive nilling. In the aftermath, the consensus amongst the loyal Hornets fans who've stuck by the club as this shambolic season has limped from rout to rout was relief that it's over.

Take nothing away from Bradford: they're strong, fast and well-drilled - and having scored with their first carry of the ball after just 90 seconds, they went through the playbook with all the intensity of a training run after a heavy weekend.

Hornets flailed and flapped. Out-played, out-thought, out-enthused, out-muscled and out for the count at the break trailing 0-46 as Bradford scored at will and stayed ahead of the clock throughout.

The second half looked pretty similar.

Hornets' shortcomings were exposed on attack and defence. Late on, having forced multiple drop-outs, they had four sets in Bradford's 20m zone, but couldn't find a pass or a kick to make Bradford think. The brief spell of pressure (and expectation), ended with a flaccid jab of a kick mopped up by Oakes who barely had to move. The season in a microcosm right there folks.

Some of the observations of the people around us were pretty apposite. One media guy described the difference in ability between the sides as "The Harlem Globetrotters v a school side". An ex-coach commented that there were "... no plays, no plan and no-one talks to each other". And one experienced RL official - in an attempt to be positive - said "at least you can't fault their effort - they're trying their hardest". Like Yoda said: "Do or do not - there is no try". And he was absolutely right. There was no try, for the third game running.

Ultimately, losing should hurt. It should f*ck-up your week until at least Wednesday. What we do has to matter or what's the point?

In an attempt to close the book on 2019 in a positive light, the Hornets faithful have been been absolutely stoic this season. It's that relationship with people who care - about the club and each other - that has seen us through. They're the true heartbeat of the club. It's you guys we'll miss between now and March. From Toronto and Toulouse to Bradford and Batley you've all been legends.

And there's nothing more certain than that.