Hornets 72 - University of Gloucsestershire All Golds 12
We wrote in last week's preview of this game of the potential for 'glory in September' - and Hornets brought down the curtain on the regular season with a truly glorious 72-12 flogging of the University of Gloucestershire All Golds.
This was an accomplished, considered performance - low on errors and penalties and orchestrated by the silky skills of the Ginger General Paul Crook who not only kicked 12 from 12 and weighed in with a try to give him a personal tally of 28 points, but also repeatedly turned UGAG around with an impressive display of tactical kicking.
In fact, his very first kick of the afternoon paid dividends! Having seen Crooky's kick-off bounce dead to gift themselves an All-Golds drop-out, Hornets were on the front foot from the off.
Smart hands to the right sent Danny Davies sailing through a huge hole after just four minutes, followed on the next set by Dave Llewellyn bursting through to open his account.
And when Wayne English made the extra man to unleash Gaz Langley after 10 minutes, you sensed that this could be a long afternoon for the shellshocked visitors.
Playing smart error-free football, Hornets maintained the pressure.
Slick approach put Hornets back on the attack after 15 minutes. Having crossed the line, Wayne English kept his arms free as the All Golds defence wrestled to prevent him from grounding the ball. Good awareness saw him flip the ball back to the supporting Dave Llewellyn and - with the defence occupied with Wayne - he coolly planted the ball for his second.
By now the Hornets pack was causing all sorts of problems, making big yards through the heart of the All Golds defence. John Cookson showed great hands to send Paul Crook in for a well crafted try, and Joe Greenwood followed almost immediately with a deserved try by the posts. Hornets brought up the forty with three minutes of the half remaining Danny Davies replicating his earlier effort.
Half time 42-nil.
Whatever Brad Hepi said at half time had a temporary uplifting effect on the visitors. Playing at a higher tempo and with a clear determination, they fashioned two quick tries from Barlow and Cowburn, but the Hornets machine clicked back into gear and when birthday boy Chris Hough celebrated with a sucker-punch try from close range, normal service was resumed.
Carl Forster showed good strength to shrug off defenders to score on 68 minutes, then quick thinking from Dave Hull on a 'free play' from a fumbled All Golds possession found Martin Waring with acres of space to pick his spot and score.
It was that man Carl Forster again, wreaking havoc in the All Golds defence on 76 minutes, breaking into open field and picking a well-timed pass to send Wayne English in under the black dot.
And John Cookson was rewarded for a good afternoon's work as he slipped in stealth bomber-like from acting half to bring up the seventy.
Having done everything they had to with style and quality, there was an edgy wait for both players and fans for the result to filter through from Iffley Road. News that Skolars had choked - only managing a slutchy draw as a late-late Oxford drop-goal attempt drifted agonisingly wide - brought the biggest cheer of the day as Hornets secured a home play-off tie next week.
The real business starts now. Let's go to work.