Monday, 15 April 2019

Hornets Suffer the Chill Factor

Salford 76 - Hornets 6

It was a evening of cold comfort at the AJ Bell Stadium on Friday nights as a Hornets side fresh from a day at work froze in the face of a Red Devils onslaught.

Steered effortlessly round the park by Jackson Hastings, Salford ran in 13 tries; with Chamberlain and Inu sharing 12 goals equally. Conversely, Hornets looked big on graft and light on craft, struggling with the pace of Salford's attack right from the whistle.

Salford were 18-nil up on the 9 minute mark with tries from Burke, Evalds and Dudson: running at twice the rate of the clock didn't augur well. There was some intense debate amongst the noisy Rochdale contingent in a frugally thin crowd as to whether Hornets should've taken the two points at 6-nil to avoid the duck.

By the half-hour mark, Hornets had stemmed the torrent to a mere 34-0 before Shaun Ainscough followed a Dan Abram kick into the in-goal for Hornets' only score of the night. Cue the singing from the Hornets fans.

Indeed, most of the singing came from the Western end of the AJ Bell stand, the home crowd applauding further tries from Chamberlain, Tomkins, Evalds and Bibby politely. All the atmosphere of an asteroid,

Hornets went to the break at 40-6.

The second half looked much like the first, Hornets back-pedalling as Salford added tries by Bibby, Evalds (twice in four minutes), Griffin, Lui and Inu.

By some distance the highlight of the second half  was the banter between the Hornets fans and the poor frozen in-goal judge at the Western End who had - literally - nothing to do and even went for a pee at one point.

Post Match Hornets assistant coach Anthony Stewart said: "The effort was good but we didn’t expect that score. There were some positive performances from some of the lads but others were not on top form."

“Salford are a team that attacks really well and it was a top performance from them. We will take the positives and move on from there but we needed more from some of our lads tonight.”

In the end it was a disappointing show all round. Salford coach Ian Watson had put a rocket up his players in the week and, on the night, went with his strongest available side. Salford were sharper, bigger, faster and far superior in every department. It's a shame that the people of Salford don't get behind them in numbers.

As it was, it was the worst of all worlds: a thumping away from home and no big Cup dividend to soften the blow. And, as attention turns back to Good Friday's absolute must-win Championship dog-fight of a game at Swinton, Hornets put their Cup dreams back on ice for another year.