Sunday, 25 May 2014

Patched-Up Hornets Pay The Penalty

Shorn of the presence of Davies, Ratu, Langley and Suffolk due to injury, this always looked like a big ask for a patched-up Hornets. And the clear lack of bite from this fearsome foursome proved too big an obstacle, as Doncaster rode a wave of penalties to take full advantage.

Hornets set the tone pretty much the first whistle. James Tilley conceded a penalty for holding down in the first set. Donny were piggy-backed straight downfield where Scott bounced off a series of tackles to send in Kesik off a short ball for a soft try. Scott converted 6-nil.

On 11 minutes, Hornets set up camp in the Dons half, but the pressure was relieved by a soft offside penalty. Doncaster again yomped straight down the far end where quick hands sent bookies' favourite Leaf in untouched. Scott the two for 12-nil.

The next set, James Tilley was again the victim of referee Hewer's hawkeye - snagged for offside. Doncaster marched downfield, only to be pulled back over the line for a double movement.

See the pattern here?

Having been deluged by penalties, Hornets finally came up for air on 21 minutes when a steepling bomb from Paul Crook was gathered by a soaring Shaun Robinson for a well taken try. But, for all its beauty, it offered a false hope.

on 26 minutes a dubious high penalty again long-hauled the home side 50 metres down field, where big-lad Castle rumbled onto a short ball from a foot out to crunch his way in for a disappointing last tackle try.

Almost immediately Hornets were punished with an even more dubious penalty for ripping the ball, compounded with an extra ten metres for talking back. but - this time - Doncaster coughed up a penalty of their own, to let Hornets off the hook.

Now it was Doncaster's turn to incur the ire of Mr Hewer. Two consecutive head tackles gave Hornets repeat sets deep in Dons territory, but the last kick was an over-hit bobbling mess and the moment was gone.

Doncaster took full advantage, Cooke given acres of space to pick a pass and put winger Hodson in by the flag.

Half time 22-6 - and Hornets struggling to find any real cohesion.

Dons player-coach Paul Cooke began the second half playing in an 'exclusion zone' - allowed all the space he needed to spray passes around at will. And it took just four minutes for him to find Hodson in space wide out for a simple, but effective try. 26-6.

Hornets dug in, but chasing the game led to forced passes and, when Crooky dumped an uncharacteristically shocker of a pass to ground, Cooke capitalised, launching a 70 metre attack before releasing a peach of a pass to Wilkinson to score outside a frayed defence. 30-6

Cooke showed his less impressive side on 61 minutes, bleating to the ref for a penalty, which Mr Hewer duly gave. A basic 'run and carry' set was enough to send in Spaven from a yard. 36-6.

His work done for the day, Cooke subbed himself and Hornets began to make inroads. On 72 minutes tidy hands in a moment of lucid football saw James Dandy lunge in for 36-10.

Over-excited, Hornets immediately threw a loose pass and a grateful Scott sprinted 80 metres to score. The try was most notable for Scott successfully rounding the redoubtable Wayne English in the process. On their next attack, Doncaster found normal service resumed as Wayne chopped down the ball carrier to save a certain try.

And that was pretty much it. A scrappy mess of a penalty-riddled game that spluttered, but never really sparked.

One to forget. So let's park it and move on...