Sunday, 21 July 2019

They Think It's All (R)Over

Fev 50 - Hornets 6

Only the most delusional optimist could cling to the mathematical possibility of Hornets staying up after this run-of-the-mill defeat to a pretty ordinary Featherstone Rovers.

At Post Office Road in front of a muted crowd, Hornets' hardy knot of loyal followers were treated to a display that captured this stinking year in microcosm: a brief flurry of hope that descended into a meme of Homer Simpson backing into a hedge.

The hope came courtesy of a high-tempo start that had Featherstone going backwards. Determined defence laid the platform and, when Shaun Ainscough piled through Dagger to score on 10 minutes, you could hear a pin drop. Dan Abram added the extras, the Hornets fans sang, an old guy in a Fev shirt made the 'wankers' gesture at us - all was well in the world. For four minutes.

Typically, Hornets spilled the kick-off possession, Fev built some pressure and Makatoa piled in. Chisholm added the extras and 'wanky grand-dad' gave us a loose handed wave. Then came the familiar second quarter collapse that saw Featherstone score three decidedly soft tries in 15 minutes.

Firstly King sped out of acting half on the last tackle to score; then Hornets right edge was caught napping for Briscoe to capitalise. Then on 35 minutes, replacement hooker Connor Jones took a leaf out of King's book: slipping out of the back of the ruck to mug a static defence.

Having started brightly, Hornets went to the sheds 20-6 down.

The first five minutes of the second half effectively decided the game. Pierre Bourrel looked to have scored for Hornets after just three minutes, but his effort was ruled out after referee Aaron Moore consulted his Guide Dog. As a Hornets fan near us said: 'if it weren't for bad luck, we'd have no luck at all'.

Off the hook, Featherstone marched straight back upfield where Harrison was slotted into open field to score. Chisholm on target and Rovers with the momentum at 26-6.

Within four minutes the home side were in again. This time Golding (who, for most of this game seemed mostly concerned about ruining his ridiculous man-bun than getting stuck in) found the wherewithal to get on the end of a break and score.

Hornets did briefly hang on to the tailgate of this rapidly departing game, but finally succumbed to the inevitable, conceding three tries in the last 12 minutes (Day, a brace: Walters the other) to take Featherstone past the 45 point average.

Adding insult to injury, pedant-in-chief Mr Moore gave Featherstone their 14th penalty on the hooter (Hornets received just four in 80 minutes). Chisholm slammed it home from near half-way to bring up the 50.

The Hornets faithful applauded and headed for the car-park: partly disappointed in another defeat, partly relieved that this soul-sapping season is pretty much all over.

Let's Do Maths!

- With six games remaining, the maximum number of points available is 14.
- Dewsbury and Widnes are already on 12, Batley on 13. Hornets have a -664 points difference.
- If Dewsbury win at Spotland next Sunday, they'll go onto 14 points. Hornets would then be unable to catch Dewsbury, leaving Widnes and Batley the only teams we could catch (13 &12 pts respectively).
- If Hornets beat Dewsbury, we stay alive for another week, when we face Batley. If Batley win (15pts) and Widnes get a win at Sheffield on the same day (14pts) Hornets are relegated.

Having taken 1 win from 21 games, Hornets would have to produce a run of six straight wins, including Leigh at Home, Toronto away, Halifax away and Bradford at home.