Monday, 19 February 2018

I don't like Mondays

Hornets 6 - Dewsbury 38

After a fortnight of frustration, Hornets finally got 2018 underway with a Monday night performance that bore all the hallmarks of having not played for a month.

In a first 40 minutes of missed tackles, misfired passes, mistimed runs, and frankly miserable handling, a fit and firing Dewsbury raced into an unassailable lead, leaving a punch-drunk Hornets reeling by 0-32 at the break.

Dewsbury laid their stall out early doors, forcing a drop-out first set, then going wide to Worrincy, only to be pulled for a forward pass.

On 7 minutes Gary Middlehurst was snagged for interference at a tackle and, in the following set, Morton out-sprang debutant Deon Cross to open the scoring.

Hornets were still struggling to settle: Lewis Palfrey and Earl Hurst both snatching at passes, the latter gathered by Glover who strolled 30 metres to score. Sykes with the extras and Dewsbury 0-10 to the good.

Just three minutes later saw an almost carbon copy error: this time Dec Kay was relieved of the ball after a lazy Dewsbury kick downfield, and Worrincy bullied his way to the line. No mistake from Sykes and the Rams chasing the clock at 0-16.

Hornets continued to sputter: Hurst again coughing the ball in the tackle, then Middleurst coming up with a high shot to ship a penalty. Thankfully, Dewsbury threw a ridiculous forward pass to relieve the pressure: briefly.

On 25 minutes Joe Taira’s impact was considered a little too robust. A brief flurry of handbags and Gary Middlehurst dispatched to the sin-bin: cause unclear.

On the half hour, Hornets finally go to play some football in the Dewsbury 20m zone: Danny Yates’ kick just beyond the reach of Rob Massam. On the next foray into Dewsbury territory, they went to the same spot with the same plan - yielding the same outcome.

On 33 minutes Hornets were penalised for not being square at the play-the-ball, 90 seconds after Dewsbury had committed the same offence with no punishment. Poor.

Dewsbury gratefully received possession, Knowles jabbed a kick into the in-goal and Brown touched down through a static defence.

And if that wasn’t enough, Worrincy’s 90 metre kick return to score on the hooter put the lid on a singularly difficult first half in which Hornets shipped 32 unanswered points.

The second half was a very different proposition, Hornets finally finding their feet to staunch the flow of points. Unlike the first forty, Hornets were quick off the line, aggressive in the tackle and drew Dewsbury into a real arm wrestle.

For 20 minutes Dewsbury plugged away at the Hornets defence - unlocked eventually on the hour when Guzdek hit a Sykes miracle-ball at pace to score from 40 metres. Sykes the two for 0-38.

Hornets’ response was pretty immediate. A direct approach-set and Luke Adamson racing under the black-dot from a neat short pass. Livett added the two - and the arm wrestle resumed.

It’s fair to say that - beyond exchanging sets - not a great deal of any import happened from there on in. The ‘highlight’ of the last 20 minutes being Sykes’ piss-taking attempt at a drop goal.

After such a shocking opening half, it was heartening to see Hornets regroup to draw the second half 6-all. With a few players carrying bumps - and a few still out with injuries - Hornets are doing it tough at the moment. But there’s a long way to go.

As D-ream said: things can only get better. Here’s hoping.