Hornets vs Ramblers 03/19/16
It was a Cup match battle between two one-loss teams at Forrest Park on Saturday as the Hornets took on the Ramblers. The Hornets started out strong in the opening minutes. Some quick penalties from the special guest referee set the tone for discipline early, and a penalty for back chat set up the opening point of the game with a Brad Kasper kick after only 3 minutes. 3-0 Hornets. The Hornets defense had the Ramblers pinned down inside their 22 for long periods of time, and a wayward Rambler clearing kick picked out Rich Favazza who put Zach Hatraf away down the left sideline but he was pushed out inches from scoring as he dove for the corner. But a turnover from the resultant Rambler lineout saw the Hornets spread the ball through the hands quickly to the right sideline to put Patrick McLeroy (seriously great name) over in the right hand corner. The tough conversion sailed wide but the Hornets were out to an 8-0 lead after only 8 minutes. The Hornets were clearly feeding off the enthusiasm of having a big squad at the game and a great warm-up, and soon again a break down the right touchline had Patrick showing a clean pair of heals to score in the right corner again to increase the lead to 13-0 after 12 minutes. Another poor Rmablers clearing kick found bad Zach again, who returned the favor and with some lucky bounces rad Kasper pounced on the loose ball and scooted over from about 15 metres out. Kasper’s conversion of his own try made the score 20-0 to the Hornets after only 23 minutes. From there the game settled down, perhaps the Hornets thought they were going to have an easy day with the rush of tries to start the game. But to their credit the Ramblers hung tough, and the Hornets repeatedly failed to effectively clear their zone. The sustained pressure inside the Hornet 22 saw a Rambler prop crash over for a try coming off several phases strung together from a penalty tap. The successful conversion narrowed the gap to 20-7 after 29 minutes. For the rest of the half the Ramblers kept applying the pressure, and the Hornets were too slow to secure their own ruck leading to several Rambler turnover, only to be nullified by some timely clearing kicks from Brian Saak and big tackles from Tommy Bach. Halftime score Hornets 20, Ramblers 7.
The Hornets started out well again in the second half with Brad Christ recovering a pinpoint Brad Kasper kickoff. After a penalty kick for touch found the line inside the Rambler 22, the Hornets got to put the hard work at practice into play with a maul from the lineout driven over for a try scored by BK. 5 minutes later, from a similar position on the other side of the field, a nice move from the back of the lineout put BK through a gap, only for him to be held up over the try line as he was trying to improve position for the conversion attempt. Score remained 25-7 to the Hornets after 49 minutes. A bad clearance from the Hornets saw the Rambler replacement center score under the posts after 51 minutes. Easy conversion narrowed the gap to 25-14 after 51 minutes. The game became a battle of attrition with the Ramblers retaining possession with their big forwards, but not making much ground. And the Hornets failed to effectively clear their zone, and lost too many balls at the rucks. But another Rambler try at the 68 minute mark set up a nailbiting finish with the score now 25-19 to the Hornets. Kasper effectively iced the game with two successful penalty kicks at the 71 and 76 minute marks, making the Ramblers need two converted tries in the final 4 minutes to win the game. They got one of those scores back with an intercept from a wayward pass by the scrumhalf out of a ruck to close the gap to 31-26 with only 3 minutes to go. From the kickoff Tommy Bach put in a great kick downfield to the Rambler 5 metre line where their fullback knocked on the ball under the pressure of a good chase. A Hornet scrum win and a Matt Merrick kick into touch sealed the game at 31-26 in favor of the black and gold. Man of the matched was a well-deserved Tommy Bach
Score; Hornets - 31 (Tries – Connor McGergor x 2, Brad Kasper, BK; Conversion – Kasper 1/4; Penalties - Kasper 3/3); Ramblers - 26
Scrums; Hornets 8/9 (89%); Ramblers – 9/10 (90%)
Lineouts; Hornets 7/8 (88%); Ramblers – 4/10 (40%)
Penalties; Hornets – 8, Ramblers - 12