Location: Forest Park, Lindell Field
Score: Bombers - 21, Hornets - 20
Man Of The Match: Mike Jones
Hornets vs Bombers 09/06/14.
The opening match of the Cup season saw the Hornets take on their arch rivals the Bombers at Forest Park. Both teams were keen to show off their offseason additions, leading to a spirited start to the game which sometimes crossed the line. Neither team was able to gain an advantage until a Bombers lineout deep inside their own half saw a clearing kick be charged down by Nick Kalist pressuring from the back of the lineout, who forced the ball down for the first try of the game. The successful conversion by Brad Bearden put the Hornets up 7–0 after 16 minutes. The Bombers pressured right back by claiming the kickoff and winning a subsequent penalty. However the attempt sailed wide and the Hornets were able to weather the storm and hold the Bombers off the scoreboard. The remainder of the half saw the Hornets string together some nice phases of play without being able to break the line cleanly, and any promising raids were ultimately turned back by clever Bomber tactical kicks. A final surge before halftime saw the Hornets with pressure inside the Bomber 22 and after winning a penalty, Matt Merrick caught the defense napping and burrowed his way over the try line from a quick tap 10 meters from the line. Bearden’s conversion put the Hornets up 14-0 at halftime. The Hornets kept the pressure up after the intermission, slotting a penalty from right in front to extend the margin to 17–0. But the Bombers made some key replacements in the front row and at scrum half and started doing a much better job of retaining their own ball. They started to string more phases together, and an inside step from their #10 caught out the lazy Hornet cover defense and from the break an offload to the winger in support saw the Bombers score under the posts. The conversion narrowed the gap to 17-7 after 57 minutes. The Hornets began to mentally and physically wear down, and the Bombers seized the momentum. In the first half, the Hornets were winning all our own scrums and lineouts and taking about half of the Bombers possessions, but the tables began to turn. After 61 minutes, a loose ball from a Hornet lineout saw the Bombers crash over for an easy try to make the score 17-14 with the conversion. The Hornets got some breathing space back with another successful penalty extending the margin back to 20-14. But the Bombers finished full of running and kept ball in hand to score another converted try to take the lead for the first time in the match 21-20 with about six minutes to play. A last ditch effort saw the Hornets earn a penalty in kicking range right on the stroke of full time, but the attempt sailed to the right to miss by less than a meter. Heartbreaking way for the Hornets to kick off the 2014-2015 Cup campaign. Man of the match was Mike Jones who was strong in every aspect of the game. Also for the forwards, Brad Christ had a great game, highlighted by some strong work on the kickoffs. In the backs, Brad Bearden was the best on the day, particularly in defense with some strong tackles. The Hornets look to rebound next weekend against the Royals.
Score – Bombers 21, Hornets 20 (Tries – Nick Kalist x1, Matt Merrick x1; Conversion - Bearden 2/2; Penalties - Bearden 2/3)
Scrums – Hornets 7/12 (58%), Bombers 6/9 (67%)
Lineouts – Hornets 7/12 (58%), Bombers 6/12 (50%)
Penalties – Hornets 18, Bombers 14.