Sunday, 22 May 2016

Blooming Brilliant

Hornets 70 - Scorpions 6

On an auspicious afternoon when Wayne English made his 150th appearance  for Hornets, Woz Thompson made his 100th career start and Dale Bloomfield grabbed a hat-trick to clock-up his 100 career tries, Hornets themselves can count themselves unlucky not to have hit SW Scorpions for a century of points.

With Paul Crook slotting only 7 from 13 conversions, Hornets knocking-on over the line four times and held-up in-goal three times, the 64 point winning margin flatters a Scorpions side that struggled manfully to arrest a 14-try tsunami.

Hornets were out of the blocks quickly with three well-crafted tries in the opening 18 minutes. Crooky kicking wide first play from a scrum for Dale Bloomfield to plunge in by the flag; a Crooky bomb to the opposite corner where Chris Riley popped up unmarked to touch down; and Jono Smith piling in off a short Danny Yates ball. 12-nil.

With Scorpions pressed into rear-guard action, Hornets were unlucky to have another Bloomers try struck off for a forward pass minutes later. But the visitors did rally briefly. Piggy-backed upfield off back-to-back penalties, Jones hit a flat ball at pace to score, Emmanuelli the extras and, somehow, Scorpions within a score at 12-6.

Hornets’ response was clinically swift. On the half hour, Jono Smith showed good feet to dummy his way through from 20 metres to score, followed by Joe Philbin, steaming in off a short ball just two minutes later. Crooky finding his range with the latter to stretch Hornets’ lead to 22-6. Two tries in the last two minutes of the half effectively extinguished Scorpions’ candle: good hands wide for impressive debutant Sam Wilde to skitter through under some ordinary defending. Then a break up the right flank, Sam Wilde a cute kick inside a flat-footed defence for Danny Yates to snaffle and score. Crooky good with both comversions to give Hornets a commanding half time lead of 34-6.

Hornets started the second half on the front foot: on 43 minutes Dan Murray adjudged to have knocked on over the line; two minutes later, Wayne English snagged in similar circumstances. Two minutes hence and it was Matty Hadden called held-up in goal. You could hear the visitors defence creaking.

It finally snapped in the 51st minute when a Woz Thompson break ended with Paul Crook planting the ball under the black dot, converting his own effort. Cue the opening of the floodgates. 56 minutes a huge bomb by Paul Crook, spewed under pressure by Sheridan, Wayne English following up to score; 57 minutes Chris Riley making the extra man to score out wide; 60 minutes, the ball shipped wide from the base of a scrum, Sam Wilde picking out Dale Bloomfield for his second. There was a brief respite while Michael Ratu and Wayne English knocked on over the line, but normal service was resumed on 70 minutes as Paul Crook’s prestidigitation bamboozled defenders, dummying in from 20 metres. The extras a formality to bring up the 60.

There was still time for Dale Bloomfield to cap a good afternoon’s work, slotted in at the flag on 75 minutes. One minute later a James Tilley Break found Lewis Galbraith in support and he sent Danny Yates in to score beneath the posts. Crooky the two: final score 70-6.

On any other week Paul Crook's 22 point haul and total control from five-eighth would have taken the Man of the Match award, but with a hat-trick of lethal finishes bringing up his century of tries, Dale Bloomfield deservedly takes it.

Ultimately, this was an old-skool flogging by a Hornets side that looked to be playing well within themselves. But for half a dozen in-goal decisions, this could’ve ended up anywhere north of the seventy point mark. Indeed, you feel for Paul Carleton.

As it is, Hornets continue unbeaten, going into the weekend off top of League 1 with three points of daylight between them and a fast-rising Doncaster.  With a trip to York to come in a fortnight - and the Knights involved in next weekend’s iPro cup final against Keighley - the break comes at a good time as Hornets prepare for a tough month of away fixtures.