Monday, 3 August 2015

Hornets Go Large Against 'Leeky' South Wales

Hornets 74 - Scorpions 4

Hornets dogfight for a place in the League 1 shake-up took a step forward, as they racked up the points against the Scorpions of South Wales to scramble over Barrow and stay only two points away from the top three.

As we’ve said countless times, points difference is the new bonus point in this airlocked top seven (defeat for Newcastle sees them dropping right off the pace) and Hornets gave their account a huge boost, scoring 13 tries en-route to a clinically professional win.

From the moment Wayne English looped into the line to make the extra man and send Dale Bloomfield over after just three minutes, to Bloomers darting in by the flag for his fourth try 75 minutes later, Hornets were in complete command of a game that was only ever going one way.

Most of the damage was done by the left-side wrecking crew of Danny Bridge, Lee Paterson and Dale Bloomfield who terrorised their opposite numbers all afternoon - and when Pogo broke the line on 16 minutes to slot Danny Yates under the black dot (Crooky the extras) it already had an air of inevitability about it.

Aided by some dubious decisions from tyro ref Mr Grant (assessed on the day by James Child who left after 65 minutes, thus missing his last quarter melt-down), Scorpions strove to apply some pressure, but having coughed the ball and a soft penalty, Hornets marched straight downfield where Mike Ratu hit a flat ball at pace to score. Crooky the two; 16-nil.

Four minutes later, it was Danny Bridge blasting through the right channel, Danny Yates in the same place for the same inside ball. The result just the same; Crooky on target and Hornets chasing the clock at 22-nil.

Relentless pressure on the half-hour saw Hornets camped on the Scorpions line - and when newly introduced Matt Hadden hit a short-ball at close range he was unstoppable. Crooky on his way to 11 from 13: 28-nil.

Two minutes later Hornets were back on the attack: a Danny Yates dink forcing a drop-out; Paul Crook a cheeky acting half sneak to score. 34-nil.

On 35 minutes a blistering 70 metre break from Ryan Smith needed a top notch tackle from ex-Hornet Jonny Leather to bundle him into touch, but a late blind-side foray by Lee Paterson sent Dale Bloomfield in on the hooter (Crook the extras) to send Hornets in at the break with a comfortable 40-nil lead.

The Scorpions began the second half with their best moment of the game: good hands across the field, a teasing kick through; Williams held-up over the line. Hornets’ response was swift. A sharp, direct approach set, rapid hands across the park and Dale Bloomfield in for his hat-trick: 46-nil.

Hornets turned the screw: 49 minutes a meandering 50 metre run by Ryan Smith for a great solo try; straight from the kick-off, Danny Bridge punching the hole, Lee Paterson outpacing the cover from half-way.

A slight lull in proceedings followed while Mr Grant stumbled his way through the laws (twice miscounting the tackle count - once not applying the free-play/zero tackle law correctly - his signals awful all afternoon), but on the hour Mike Ratu grabbed his second, wrestling in from close range, Crooky the two 64-nil.

Credit to the Scorpions, having regathered a short kick-off and driven forward through a good set, Farrer bounced in off Ratu to score a deserved try: 64-4.

It was a minor blip, Danny Bridge booming in to skittle defenders and score on 70 minutes. Crooky slotting the extras to bring up the 70.

Then a quite spectacular officiating melt-down. Having had a simultaneously tenuous, yet pedantic grip of the laws for 70 minutes, Mr Grant got over-picky at a penalty, waiting until Matt Haggarty had hit his drive into the defensive line before stopping play because of an unseen incursion by the defence. Frustrations bubbled over into handbags and, when Haggarty drove in an identical play, Emanuelli’s frustration was interpreted as a high tackle and - rather than having a quiet word, Mr Grant reached for the red card. All a bit knee-jerk, we think, as there’d been very little foul play all afternoon and a more diplomatic referee might have elected to say 'There’s only five minutes left, don’t be a daft lad’.

As it was, Hornets shipped the ball wide for Dale Bloomfield to close the book at 74-4.

There was just time for Mr Grant to pick the wrong player out of a scuffle at a messy ruck - dispatching Leather for dissent - and, when Hornets ran a basketball-style play after the hooter, a scuffle ensued bringing a bad-tempered end to proceedings.

In the wash-up, this one went pretty much to script. Hornets playing some tidy high-tempo football round a work-hard Scorpions light on the more dogged aspects of the game. Certainly the plan would have been to bang as many points as possible onto the scoreboard given Barrow’s stuttering win over Hemel, so objective achieved.

Elsewhere York continued their strafing of the botton six winning at Coventry, North Wales looked unconvincing in their win over the All Golds (Jono Smith having blown-up in the warm-up), Swinton won at a spent Newcastle and Oldham battered a Keighley side that’s now lost both its first choice half-backs.

Next week, Hornets’ game against North Wales is the only clash between top seven clubs - everyone else getting a free-swing at a ‘southern’ side. Plenty of twists and turn to come.