Sunday, 6 August 2017


Dewsbury 56 - Hornets 8

Having been mercilessly flogged by Dewsbury a month ago, you’d hope that lessons had been learned about the Rams. How halves Sykes and Moore orchestrate pretty much everything, how they like to suck you into the middle and then shuttle ball to the edges to exploit the size of their three-quarter line.  But it was a serious case of Deja Vu for the noisy travelling Hornets contingent as they saw their side ship 11 tries to a well-drilled Dewsbury high on confidence.

The day’s most interesting stat was that seven of those 11 tries went through their right channel, where winger Potts grabbed four carbon-copy tries that he barely had to work for.

The afternoon had the sense of dread about it when Dewsbury opened the scoring on 6 minutes from a pass so far forward it appeared as if through a wormhole in the in-goal for Glover to touch down. Sykes added the extras for 6-nil.

Three minutes later Dewsbury went the other way, where Potts took advantage of a compressed defence to score by the flag. 10-nil and Hornets already behind the clock.

Hornets finally got some decent field position on 12 minutes, but Lewis Foster put a simple pass to ground on the second tackle to let the home side off the hook.

This seemed to panic Hornets and they began forcing passes that had little chance of reaching their intended recipients. Indeed, when another forced pass on the first tackle handed Dewsbury easy possession, they strolled upfield where Moore dinked a kick into space, a cruel bounce left Chris Riley stranded and Hallett gathered to walk in from 20 metres. 14-nil.

It wasn’t until the 21st minute that Hornets managed a cohesive attack, the ball fed wide up the left only for Jack Holmes to be bundled into touch.

With the half hour approaching, Hornets finally got on the scoreboard: Jono Smith’s outrageous show and go cleaving the home defence. No conversion, 14-4. The joy was short-lived, though as Dewsbury hit straight back with the softest of sucker-tries: Day strolling in from acting half as the goal-line defence switched off. Sykes the two for 20-4.

Then came the moment in which you knew this really wasn’t going to be Hornets’ day. A lovely flat ball sent Jake Eccleston clean through the guts of the Rams - only for referee Mr Campbell to pull it back for - at best - a dubious forward pass. And in the next passage of play Dewsbury produced a pass a metre forward from the base of the scrum for Potts to score (24-4).

But there was still time for more calamitous freakery. Lewis Foster slammed the kick-off high and long - looking for all the world like it was heading for the terracing behind the posts, but the ball hit the left upright, Dewsbury gathered possession and sent Glover the length of the field for his second of the afternoon. Shocker: half-time couldn’t come soon enough (28-4).

The second half began in much the same vein. On the first play of the half Dewsbury  got a penalty and, 45 seconds later, Potts was planting the ball by the flag for his hat-trick. 32-4 and Hornets fans reduced to scouring phones for news from Batley and Sheffield.

For 20 minutes the game descended into base comedy - a barely watchable farce at which no-one was laughing (even the Dewsbury fans struggled to raise their spirits and their voices). This was underlined as a rare Hornets attack ran in ever decreasing circles up its own fundament, to the point where Dewsbury looked embarrassed to gather the dropped ball.

Rams fullback Guzdek weighed in with a try on the hour, but even Hornets’ consolation try had a sense of the circus about it as a dropped pass was somehow back-heeled by Jake Eccleston into the hands of Chris Riley, who muscled his way over the whitewash for 38-8.

Having seen enough, this game had not so much a sting in its tail, but a monumental kick in the spuds as Hornets folded in the last 8 minutes to ship three frankly awful tries.

Firstly Potts produced his now standard stroll to the flag; Day took the piss by ambling from acting half to score under the black dot and - at the very death - what was (by some distance) the most embarrassing try conceded this season: the ball run 60 metres up the heart of the Hornets defence straight from the kick-off, Glover on hand to nudge off some sloppy tackles to grab his hat-trick. Sykes the two for 56-8 to put the lid on an afternoon to forget.

In the 14 hours between the final hooter and writing this review, we’ve struggled to find many positives. Certainly, having scored a well-made try and come back onto the field after a head injury, Jono Smith was (by some distance) the Hornets man of the match. Beyond that, we can only point to the fact that Oldham and Swinton also got hammered, so things stay much the same in the bottom four, as Dewsbury ease themselves towards safety.

As we always like to end on an upbeat note - Bradford’s loss to Toulouse at Odsal in front of a crowd beginning with a 2 (2,753) saw the former world club champions relegated to the third tier.

And  on this showing, it’s going to be a tense six weeks to see who follows them.