Monday, 21 May 2012

This Is A Low

Scorpions 32 Hornets 30

Perspective is a wonderful thing. But whichever angle you look at this result from, it was a scrappy, clunking, miserable mess.

Out enthused by by a perfunctory Scorpions who stuck to their 'keep it simple, play direct' game plan, Hornets contrived to hand the Welsh side their first win at the Gnoll in 2012, having had ample chance to take control of the game.

Indeed, Hornets started the brighter: Danny Davies feeding Dale Bloomfield in by the flag after 7 minutes. Paul Crook, wide with the conversion attempt. But the Scorpions hit back almost immediately: Hornets defence napping as Mossop strolled in from first receiver. 

Hornets regained the advantage on 20 minutes when a rare passage of lucid football saw Wayne English score wide out. Paul Crook closer, but still no cigar from virtually the same spot.

But the lead lasted just three minutes, defenders switching off late in the tackle count to allow Mossop to mug Hornets from acting half. And things got worse on the half hour when - having repelled some sustained pressure - Hornets lost track of Parry who obliged with four points.

Right on the hooter Hornets again found half a dozen slick passes, as quick hands across the line saw Danny Davies burst through to score. From much the same spot, the outcome of the conversion attempt was much the same. Half time 16-12 to the Scorpions - and Hornets with a finger-hold in the game.

The second half started in frantic fashion. Hornets forcing repeat sets to no avail; tempers becoming frayed. But it was the home side that composed itself quicker, trooping downfield to send ex-*nion wing James (the world's most rotund winger) trundling through some ordinary tackling in for his debut try.

To their credit, Hornets struck back almost immediately when John Cookson crashed in off a short ball - only for him to execute a needlessly wilful head tackle from the restart that saw him sin-binned.

The 12 men dug-in and the line held. Hornets even had the audacity to work the ball out wide to Dale Bloomfield who showed great pace and persistence to get the ball down by the flag. Crooky found his kicking boots and Hornets led by 24-20 with 15 minutes remaining.

But in typical fashion, Hornets switched off at the kick-off, the Scorpions regained the lofted ball and, just four tackles later, Parry was planting the ball through a crowd of defenders. For good measure, Mossop added his hat-trick try on 73 minutes and Hornets were gone at 32-24.

Yes, Dale Bloomfield almost snuck a hat-trick when he dived in on a bouncing ball in the in-goal. And, yes, Wayne English was denied with a last-ditch tackle after a Chris Baines interception. And, yes, Steve McDermott weaved his way through to plant the ball under the black dot in the 79th minute - but it was all too little too late. The final score of 32-30 flattering a Hornets side that never really got to grips with this game and, for whom, cohesive football is becoming an increasingly rare commodity.

Ultimately, this was a victory for teamwork. Whilst Hornets are undoubtedly better man-for-man than their opponents, the Scorpions were greater than the sum of their parts, and their noisy on-field celebration after the final hooter showed how much it meant.

And, from our perspective, it made for a quiet, sullen five hour journey home.