Sunday, 9 June 2019


Dewsbury Rams 66 - Hornets 10

It's said that the secret to success lies not in how you start, but how you finish. Having begun both halves of this game with second-minute scores, Hornets' performance degenerated into a raging bin fire of errors, missed tackles and soft penalties.

Having seen last season turned around by a win at the Tetley stadium, the hardy band of Hornets fans travelled with optimism - and when Brandon Wood crashed in from 20 metres for Hornets' opening score with only 120 seconds on the clock, there was a brief flicker of optimism. But within five minutes Dewsbury were ahead.

Aging journeyman Liam Finn took his side close, Day picked out Trout arriving at pace and he squeezed in to score. Finn converted the first of his 11 goals (100% with the boot on the day).

Hornets did battle briefly: Adam Lawton's huge break up the guts of the Dewsbury defence came to nought; Shaun Ainscough's try in the corner struck-off for a forward pass. Nothing between the teams for 20 minutes. And then the collapse: Dewsbury grabbing three tries in 12 minutes to seize control of the game.

On the half hour a hit and hope downtown kick fumbled. From the resulting scrum a neat pass from Sykes sent Morton skating through a huge hole. Then Hornets forcing a pass out of the back of a tackle, only for Walshaw to snaffle the ball and stroll 30 metres to score.

With a minute of the half to play - and clinging on until the break imperative - Hornets switched off, allowing Knowles to offload in a tackle that looked all but completed; Day the beneficiary of some frankly awful defending. All Hornets' good work undone: 24-10 to the Rams at the break. Hornets fans looking skywards in frustration.

The second half began like the first - but ended much, much worse.

Hornets pressed early, Scott Moore (sponsored by TLCRF80mins) took responsibility in an attack going nowhere to plunge in and score. Dan Abram the extras and Hornets back at 24-10 with 38 minutes to play.

Then disaster. Hornets shipping four increasingly soft tries in just 10 minutes:  Morris with carbon-copy pushover efforts, Martin twisting round defenders, Garrett a walk-in off a Morton pass. 48-10 with almost half an hour to play. Hornets went into meltdown: Dewsbury gifted six consecutive penalties (as part of a 13-7 penalty count), passes forced, defence in tatters. Day capitalising with a try just past the hour, scoring from close range.

There was brief respite, before Dewsbury went for the big finish with two tries in the last five minutes: Martin taking another easy offload to jog in, Annakin swatting off attempted tackles for 66-10.  With three minutes remaining, the realistic fear was that Hornets would ship 70 points. At Dewsbury. Thankfully, the stadium clock bore no resemblance to the time remaining and Hornets were put out of their misery by the final hooter.

All-up this was a mess. Hornets effectively background scenery as Dewsbury racked up some scary stats: eleven tries, eleven goals; biggest win in 10 years; gifted 13 penalties, Finn hitting his career 500 point mark.

As always we try and wring out some positives, but there were none.

Trying to reconstitute a squad half-way through a season was always going to be a tough ask, but this was just horrible. The most extreme test of faith possible, with no real signs of salvation.