Opponent: Bombers B Side
Location: Lucier Park
Score: Hornets - 29 Bombers - 24
Man Of The Match: Matt Merrick
Hornets vs Bombers 03/22/14.
Playoff implications were on the line at Lucier Park on Saturday as the Hornets prepared for battle at the Bombers field. With neither teams willing to give an inch, the first half was a real arm wrestle. The Hornets were able to string together some good phases, punctuated by some strong runs from Mike Jones in the forwards. But the Bombers were able to control territory with a strong tactical kicking game meaning most of the first 40 minutes were played in the Hornets half. Both teams showed some early nerves with a lot of handling errors. Several times the Hornets were able to get out of jail when the last Bombers pass could not find the hands. But strong defense around the ruck from the Hornets kept the Bombers out of the try zone, despite BRAD KASPER throwing an intercept pass deep inside our own half. From a rare attacking scrum, the Hornets secured a penalty deep inside the Bombers half right in front of the posts which Juice slotted for a 3-0 lead after 38 minutes. However, a handling error off the ensuing kickoff resulted in a turnover with several Bomber phases inducing a subsequent penalty for hands in the ruck. The Bomber #10 put the penalty over to tie the score at 3-3 heading into halftime. The Bombers came out firing to start the second half and set up camp inside the Hornet 22 almost immediately from the kickoff. A turned scrum against the Hornet feed caught the Hornets napping and the Bomber #10 crashed over from about 10 meters out to make the score 10-3 to the Bombers. A few minutes later, the Bombers #13 crashed over off an attacking Bombers line out and then at the 51 minute mark another Bomber try out wide stretched the lead to 25-3 (with a penalty in between). But some inspirational words from Juice started to turn the tide. The Hornets applied pressure to the Bombers inside their own 22 and a huge push from replacement prop Damien Gonzales pushed the Bombers scrum back inside their won try zone resulting in a Hornet scrum 5 meters out. Off the following scrum win, Brian Saak scored near the posts to close the gap to 25-10 (with the Juice conversion) with just under 20 minutes to play. With momentum now on the Hornet side, the rucking and defensive intensity picked up with some good “Omaha” ball from the forwards working our way back into the Bomber territory. With number out left, Daytron Jones found himself in space but unfortunately the last pass was a little behind Sunshine who could not handle it cleanly as he would have raced untouched for the corner. Not to be dejected, Saak took an intercept as the Bombers were trying to clear their 22 and scored at the 71 minute mark to close the gap to 25-17. Needing two more tries to take the lead, the Hornets kept ball in hand and Daytron “Megatron” rumbled 30 meters with defenders bouncing off him to score. The unsuccessful conversion meant the Hornets still needed one more try to win the game. With ball in hand, Brad “the baby giraffe” Christ found himself in space and would not be denied, weaving 40 meters for the winning score with Nick “the vulture” Kalist in support the whole way. The conversion made the score 29-25 and meant the Bombers needed a try to win the game with about 2 minutes to play. The Bombers attacked immediately, but Brian Saak came up with a turnover and kicked down field to get the Hornets out of trouble. With the Bombers trying to come back, it was the Hornets who would have the last laugh with Sheed crossing into the try zone for what should have been the nail in the coffin but a high tackle meant he did not ground the ball correctly. Rather than deal with the aftermath of that, the ref blew full time with the furious Hornet comeback winning the game 29-25. The result was the desired outcome for the Hornets with the win and 4 tries to secure the bonus point putting them in best possible position for playoff seeding. In the backs, the usual suspects played well with Matt Merrick, Nick Kalist and Juice strong all day, and Kasper picked his spots well to run or pass. In the forwards, Mike Jones and Daytron Jones ran strong all day, and Joey Smelt provided good continuity between forward and back set pieces. Damien Gonzales provided a huge spark off the bench. The Hornets now await to find out who they will play in the playoffs next weekend.
Score – Hornets 29 (Tries – Brian Saak x 2, Daytron x1 Brad Christ x1, Conversion Juice 3/4, Penalties Juice 1/1), Bombers 24
Scrums – Hornets 10/12 (83%), Bombers 6/8 (75%)
Lineouts – Hornets 5/9 (55%), Bombers 11/15 (73%)
Penalties – Hornets 15, Bombers 10.