Monday, 3 July 2017

Nadir oh dear...

Dewsbury 40 - Hornets 10

Jewish polymath Sholem Asch said that it is “... not the power to remember, but its very opposite, the power to forget, which is a necessary condition for our existence” - and as we look back on Hornets' bin-fire of a performance at Dewsbury, we concede that there is, indeed, much to forget about it.

Indeed, it'd be easy to forget that for 55 minutes of this - and we use the term loosely - 'contest', it was 12-10 to Dewsbury. But for 25 minutes, Hornets' quite exceptional travelling support was treated to a spectacular self-immolation of errors, penalties, missed tackles and chaos.

And you could easily forget that, for the first 15 minutes, there was little between the sides: both applying early pressure both coming up with errors. But when Hornets elected to run a penalty after a Sherriffe high-shot only to come up with a fumbled carry, Dewsbury forced a drop-out, then were given a penalty for offside. The pressure told when Spicer strode through Hornets' right edge to score. It would become a repeated motif. Sykes edged towards his 2000th point and Hornets trailed 6-nil.

Almost immediately, Dewsbury tested Mr Grant's interpretation of some of the more subtle ruck laws, blocking Gaz Middlehurst at acting half to send Moore scampering through the hole: Hornets scrambling back to defend whilst Middlehurst and his opposite number discussed matters in back-play. Mr Grant called play-on only for Dewsbury to ship a penalty. All very scrappy.

On 22 minutes Moore released a huge 40/20: the precursor to four tries in 15 minutes up Hornets' ragged right channel that effectively killed the game. First Adamson wrestling off some sloppy tackling, then Morton striding through a retreating defence, followed by Spicer off a short-ball at close range and, finally, Hallett hitting a Moore cut-out pass. Sykes ruthless with the boot and shell-shocked Hornets driven to the sheds 28-nil down.

Hornets started the second half in spectacularly awful fashion: Lewis Palfrey sacked in possession on the last tackle of the very first set. Danny Yates repeating the feat on the second set. The game in microcosm, right there, folks.

Hornets sprang briefly to life on 45 minutes, a marauding break from Ant Walker carried on by Lewis Hatton whose pass to send Miles Greenwood under the black dot was deemed forward. No matter - one minute later Hornets found Rob Massam out wide and he obliged by the flag. No conversion: 28-4.

With Hornets enjoying some decent field position: Lewis Foster and Miles Greenwood turned the home defence with kicks into the in-goal, to no avail. Conversely, Dewsbury made a brief trip to the Hornets' goal-line where Sykes slipped a slide-rule kick under the posts for Moore to follow up and score through a static defence. Sykes the extras: 34-4.

Wth the game pretty much settled, both sides degenerated into a mess of errors and cheap penalties (we have the eventual count at 14-10 to Dewsbury). On the hour Hornets got a fortuitous feed at a scrum in a good position only to cough the ball first tackle. Then Ben Moores goaded into reacting at a play-the-ball to concede a penalty in possession and, on 68 minutes, having received a penalty for a shoulder-charge on Lewis Hatton, Lewis Galbraith talked his way to a yellow-card. Poor.

Dewsbury's response was to run Hallett at the hole where Trigger should have been to give Sykes a shot at his 2,000th career point. He didn't miss: 40-4.

At the death, Jordan Case just managed to plant the ball on the line to give Hornets some hollow consolation. Yatesey added the extras to end this shocker at 40-10.

As always, we strove to look for positives, but even we struggled. Jo Taira's 20 minute cameo the highlight as he went on a one-man wrecking-ball mission to pummel the crap out of the Rams. More of this and less of the other stuff please. But the one notable performance came from Hornets' 18th man - their fans. Noisy, resolute and committed throughout, they out-sang their mumbling, grumbling Yorkshire counterparts for the full 80 minutes. Genuinely impressive on a day to forget.

And in that vein, we return to Sholem Asch, who also wrote: "Every dawn renews the beginning" - a philosophy we're clinging to this morning as we get up, dust ourselves off and start again.