Monday, 25 July 2016

The Penny Drops

Barrow 34 - Hornets 12

Jesus, where to start on this one…

It’s not often that my team embarrasses me, but this steaming turd of a game at Craven Park left the noisy travelling fans wondering what on earth they’d just seen. Outmuscled, out-thought and out-enthused by a 12-man Barrow side whose game plan seemed to hinge on kicking into a corner then launching a fat-lad from 5 metres, Hornets were a hollow, headless mess for most of the 80 minutes.

Yes, we know that the backline was shorn of Bloomers, Ratu, Cookson and Riley, but in Tom Lineham and Ben Jullien, we had more than adequate replacements. As for Kevin Penny, he looked deeply uncomfortable with the physical elements of life in League 1 and was way off the pace: ridculed by the home fans, vilified by the away fans.

A torrid and frankly awful afternoon from him began in the 9th minute when he knocked on showboating from a play-the-ball with a one handed pick-up on his own 20m line. An ingnominious start.

One minute later - following a Hornets knock-on, followed by a soft penalty - Fieldhouse made the extra man on a looping run to give Barrow the lead.

Hornets briefly flickered: an early kick from crooky for Tom Lineham to chase, the ball bundled into touch, Mr Bloem changing his decision to give Barrow the feed. Then a bone-crunching impact left Hankinson on his back: the home fans all but baying for the death penalty.

Just on the quarter mark, Hornets flattered to deceive when James Tilley and Josh Crowley combined to send Danny Yates scampering under the black dot. Crooky’s conversion gave Hornets a short-lived lead.

Barrow continued to press: a steepling bomb from Dallimore royally cocked-up by Tom Lineham; Hornets repreived with a penalty for offside, only to cough the ball. Then whern Matty Hadden was pinged for holding on too long in the tackle, Dallimore produced a short-ball for BIg-Lad Brennan to crunch onto. All very basic stuff, 10-6 with the conversion.

On their very next foray to the Hornets 20, Dallimore sold an outrageous dummy to step back inside to score. Hornets defence in bits at 16-6.

With Hornets hanging on for half-time, they got what should have been their get out of jail card in the 38th minute. Barrow’s Morrow executed a horrendous spear tackle on Jordan Case, Mr Bloem in the pocket for the red card; bedlam amongst the mob who think it’s fine to drop a lad on his head.

Half time 16-6.

Hornets began the second half brightly: Jack Holmes held-up after good approach work from Woz Thompson; Jono snagged off a forward pass; then Danny Yates catching Dallimore napping to snaffle the ball round the scrum and sneak over (no try, knock-on).

On 50 minutes Hornets went wide in search of the numerical advantage, only for Penny to drop the pass. And it was Penny again a minute later exposing Tom Lineham with a suicide pass across the face of his own posts; Lineham lined up off-balance and the ball on the deck. 30 seconds later the aptly-named Bullock hit a short-pass at speed and barrelled in to score: 22-6.

And if that weren’t bad enough, on 60 minutes Barrow moved the ball through hands to create an overlap a man short for Fleming to score. Hankinson off the whitewash to rub in the salt: 28-6.

Hornets humiliation was complete when - again - Barrow launched their big-unit Brennan from 10 metres to trundle through some soft defence and score. No mistake from Hankinson: 34-6.

The last 17 minutes were a hopeless, shapeless mess: the travesty being that Penny scored at the death. But we were already on the way to the car when that happened, so…

For the Hornets fans compelled to burn a July day watching their team get an old-skool bumming from a Barrow side who clearly wanted it more, their weekend was made complete when they learned that next week’s game at London Skolars has had the kick-off moved to 5pm, leaving many frantically trying to change train tickets or face the prospect of being £160 out of pocket.

Indeed, as one Hornets fan tweeted last night “The worst Rugby League weekend, ever”.

And we concur.