Sunday, 5 June 2016

York Shambles.

York 40 - Hornets 12

The scene was set for a great day’s Rugby League. in the summer sun of Bootham Crescent, Hornets had assembled one of their biggest away followings of recent years: in high spirits and fine voice, they anticipated a keenly fought encounter and a realistic chance of overturning York's bogey-team hoodoo.

What they got was was an ill-disciplined omnishambles: a coach-killing clusterfuck of cheap penalties, dropped ball and frankly awful decision-making.

For the first 15 minutes it was nip & tuck, arm-wrestle stuff, with some hand-bags in back-play chucked in for good measure. But when a string of flapping, fingertip York passes found their way out wide for Buchanan to score a converted try by the flag, Hornets simply came apart at the seams.

York stretched their lead by two points after back-to-back penalties took them the length of the field. And when a move going nowhere ended with a dink into the in-goal, Hornets defence turned like a canal-barge to see Buchanan reaching out to score his second.

After a 32 minute wait, Hornets found some fluency with a direct, high-tempo approach set, but undid all their hard work with the worst-possible, flapping, panic-passing last tackle option that ended with York in possession; followed by a knock on in the next set - and in the one after that.

With half-time looming, Hornets’ defence simply switched-off up the left channel, where Nicklas burrowed in to score. 0-16: could things get worse?

Yes, much, much worse.

With seconds remaining in the half, Crooky launched a long-kick from the back of a scrum for Dale Bloomfield to chase. York returned it with interest up their left edge: Saxton’s chip & hope caught Michael Ratu in two minds and his indecision gave Morland the half-chance to snaffle the bouncing ball and put Dent in for an embarrassingly easy try.

Hornets into the sheds at 22-0 down - and looking poor value for the nil.

The second half was a seamless continuation of the same chaos. Wayne English snagged for obstruction at the back of a scrum after two minutes, then soft defence inviting Brining in for a try just 60 seconds later, effectively ending the game as even the pretence of a contest.

And when Joe Philbin was caught in possession on the last tackle, York whopped the ball left for Tonks to bring up the 30. Murmurs amongst the sizeable Hornets following about the potential for a nilling.

Hornets roused briefly from their torpor around the hour mark: Jono Smith held up from close range, then a Danny Yates chip into the in-goal; Dale Bloomfield out muscling Buchanan to touch down to ironic cheers from the home fans. But the respite was short. Hornets knocked-on the kick-off possession, York moved the ball wide for Tonks to stroll in and score.

In the aftermath, Ben Moores was sinbinned, Hornets shipped a penalty straight from the kick-off - then 10 metres for talking back.

A man down, Hornets had their best spell of the game, forcing two consecutive drop-outs before Jono Smith barelled in to score. Crooky the extras for 34-12.

Enough for the day, surely?

Ah… no.

This turd of a game was regally iced at the death by a singular moment of Keystone Cops calamity that distilled the essence of the previous 79 minutes perfectly.

A sloppy, hurried Wayne English pass to Chris Riley on his own goal-line was fumbled, resulting - almost inevitably - by Emmett piling in from close range. Base comedy.

The extras added to bring up the 40, the hooter sounding to put this game out of its misery.

Positives are pretty thin from this one, but we shall remain optimistic and say that the one big plus to take away is that Hornets would have to go some to play this badly again. One to forget, for sure.