Opponent: Franklin County
Location: Forest Park, Cricket Field
Score: Hornets - 26, Franklin County - 20
Man Of The Match: Brad Bearden
Match Recap: Hornets 26 vs Franklin County 20, 10/04/14.
The Hornets took on last years runner-up Franklin County on a cold and windy afternoon in Forrest Park. After a lackluster warm-up, the Hornets started the game sluggish. But a penalty enabled a Hornet lineout inside the Franklin County 22. But a turnover from a ruck after Nate suffered a head clash saw FC methodically march the length of the field and after pushing the play continually to the right side of the field, eventually FC found an overlap to open the scoring with the first try after 9 minutes. But the Hornets came back and won a penalty shot about 30 metres out, but was unsuccessful in the strong breeze. However, from the retart, a poor FC clearance kick found Brad Bearden on the wing with only one man to beat. He shrugged off the tackle and scampered 20 metres for the Hornets first try. Donovan Unsworth’s conversion making the score 7-5 in favor of the Hornets. Some strong running from Dan Goodrich and another breakout from Bearden followed by a chip ahead put more pressure on the FC defence but untimely mistakes saw the good work undone, coupled with some dubious decisions from the referee. Franklin County began to assert their pack, especially in the scrum. From a Hornet scrum inside their 22, FC pushed over the Hornet ball for an easy scoop up and try from the back of the scrum to put them back ahead 10-7 after 24 minutes. But from the ensuing kickoff, Joey Dickerson kicked through a loose ball which nobody seemed to be able to pick up to put FC back on their own line. A Brad Christ ruck turnover and quick hands saw Don slice through the defense and score under the sticks. The conversion put Hornets back on top 14-10 after 30 minutes. But the FC scrum continued to dominate and after another scrum turnover they drove over for another try, this on converted, to snatch a 17-14 lead at halftime. Inspired by the Hornet Old Boys on the sideline, the Hornets came out blazing in the second half. Pressure inside the FC 22 saw Brad Kasper charge down an attempted clearing kick, with the loose ball eventually finding a rampaging Mike Jones to score in the right corner. Touch conversion attempt sailed wide, making the score Hornets up 19-17. The next 20 minutes were back and forth action, with neither team able to establish any consistency with some questionable refereeing decisions. But, after a scramble inside the Hornet 30 meter line, we were called from obstruction on an attempted clearing kick. With the pressure on, the FC hooker slotted the penalty to put them back on top 20-19 with only five minutes to go. Sensing the urgency of the situation, a good kickoff chase from Christ and Sheed won the ball back for the Hornets and put them on the attack. After several good scoring chances went begging, the Hornets won a penalty for offside from the ruck and took a quick tap but the ball was eventually knocked on. FC looked to run out the clock and all they had to do was clear the ball into touch. By some miracle, Joey Smelt charged the ball down and it stuck in his hands to push for one more chance. From the scrambling defence, Don threw a 30-metre double cut-out pass to Brian Saak on the left wing who went around the cover defence with a beautiful in and away move to score with the left hand corner with no time left on the clock! Bearden added insult to injury to FC by slotting the sideline conversion, making the final score Hornets 26-20! A nail-biting, coach-killing victory for the Hornets giving them two on the trot and getting the season record back to 2-2. Best of the forwards were the usual suspects Brad Christ, Mike Jones and Nick Kalist. In the backs, the wingers Dan and Miles had great games, and man-of-the-match was a well-deserved Brad Bearden.
Score – Hornets 26 (Tries – Brad Bearden x1, Donovan Unsworth x1, Mike Jones x1, Brian Saak x1, Conversion Bearden 2/3, Donovan 1/1); Franklin County 20
Scrums – Hornets 5/11 (45%); Franklin County 6/7 (86%)
Lineouts – Hornets 3/8 (37%); Franklin County 1/4 (25%)
Penalties – Hornets 10; Franklin County 10