Monday, 14 January 2013

Snow worries for Hornets

New look Hornets off to a flyer

Hornets 66 - Rochdale & District XIII 0

Early trial games are more about what you learn than the result, but there's no ignoring this convincing performance from Ian Talbot's squad. 

But don't be misled that this was a mere Sunday afternoon stroll in the snow. With much of the new Hornets intake given valuable game-time, the Town team provided some stubborn resistance, led by Rochdale's own perennial rugby warrior Chris Hough.

Whilst the cream of the district's amateurs competed well on a macro level, it was in the detail where Hornets' class and craft proved too great a hurdle to surmount. With frequent substitutions and positional changes, it was often difficult to keep tabs on the ever-changing cast of new faces, but it was the core of familiar players who took Hornets around the park with confidence and go-forward aplenty.

Wayne English turned in a performance of grit and poise - catching the eye of the St helens contingent in the crowd near me; John Cookson was explosive with and without the ball and Paul Crook oozed quality, collecting a personal tally of 30 points with two tries and eleven conversions from eleven attempts. Oh, and he chucked in a trademark 40-20 for good measure. Keep an eye on Danny Davies too - he looks sharper, stronger and more switched-on than last season.

Former Swinton Hooker Alex McClurg also laid down a marker for a starting shirt, with an industrious performance.

In fact it was McClurg who opened the scoring, burrowing in after a couple of minutes. And with a new look front-row - completed by ex Saints, Batley and Widnes prop Gareth Frodsham - in full flow, Hornets played much of the first half camped in the Town Team's half.

Tries followed at regular intervals from Frodsham, Crook and ex-Swinton and York winger Dave Sutton

Hornets went in at the break 36-nil to the good after a slimline Michael Ratu opened his Hornets account.

With changes, like the snow, coming thick and fast the second half was more of a disjointed affair, but tries from Ste Roper, Gaz Langley, Frodsham, Davies and McClurg kept the sizeable crowd entertained - and encouraged that we might expect good things this season.

Rochdale Hornets Squad

Wayne English
Gaz Langley
Tony Stewart
Owen Livesey
Dave Sutton
Paul Crooke
Steve Roper
Garreth Frodsham
Alex Mclurg
John Cookson
Dayne Donoghue
Alex Trumper
Jordan Casey
John Walker
Jordan Sandford
Martin Waring
Danny Davies
Jack Knowles
Mike Ratu
Lewis Sheridan
Will Chadwick
Fraser Jones-Lake
Ryan Brown
Andy Ainscough
Joe Bate