Sunday, 1 September 2019

Less Than Zero

Halifax 58 - Hornets nil

It was a tough afternoon at the Shay as Hornets suffered their fourth nilling of the season (their second consecutive blank) - all of which, interestingly, have happened since Hornets changed coaches mid season.

Once again, the dwindling Hornets faithful had a literal nothing to cheer as a half-paced Halifax jogged through the motions - which was ample enough effort as Hornets looked brittle on defence and a bit one dimensional on attack.

This poor show was exacerbated by three yellow-cards - two for Zac Baker late/high shots and one for Manchester-bound Brandon Wood for dissent. This meant that Hornets effectively spent half an hour of the second half a man short - and Halifax took full advantage, scoring 38 easy points in the second forty.

The die was cast in just the second minute: Brandon Wood coughing the ball early in Hornets' first set, Kay tapping a kick behind a static Hornets defence where Fairbank strolled in to touch down.

Hornets threatened briefly on ten minutes when Kyle Shelford got over the line after a Dan Abram 40/20, but the last pass was deemed forward.

Halifax then marched straight downfield where Murrell's teasing kick to the corner was snaffled by Tyrer who scored by the flag.

Hornets continued to find new ways to shoot themselves in the foot. On the quarter mark Hornets looked to drive the ball out of yardage 15m from their own line, but the pass was called as forward and, from the resulting scrum, Woodburn Hall ambled in by the upright. Too easy.

Just past the half hour, Murrell lofted yet another kick to the corner, where Tyrer said 'thanks very much' for his second try. On what was a pretty ordinary afternoon with the boot, Tyrer banged home the extras and 'Fax took an easy 20-nil lead into the sheds, having barely broken sweat.

Two minutes into the second half Zac Baker was given his first yellow for a late shot on Murrell. Halifax worked the numbers out wide for Sharp to score.

From there on in, the second half became a slow-motion bin-fire: Hornets full of errors and indiscretions; Halifax shuttling the ball around to take advantage of Hornets' reduced numbers.

It was an embarrassing parade: Cooper on 45, Woodburn Hall on 47 and winger McGrath in off a tidy cut-out pass on 57 reinforced Halifax's dominance. Three tries in the last 10 minutes (McGrath on 71, Fleming on 76 and Sharp at the death) the coup de grace for a Hornets side that showed little in the way of resistance.

Make no mistake, this was a shocker. Hornets a distant second best to a side with only one win in the last ten games -  for the most part, looking every inch like they'd rather be somewhere else.

All of which leaves just 80 minutes of this wretched season remaining for the long-suffering fans to endure.