Hornets vs Ramblers - 10/21/2017.
Perfect day for rugby in Forrest Park as the Hornets took on the Ramblers in a top-of-the-table clash for Division III supremacy. Both teams started well and the game was a free-flowing mistake-free game worthy of the top teams in the competition. Downfield Hornets clearing kicks revealed a dangerous back 3 for the Ramblers who easily cut through the Hornet kick-chase defense for easy territory and set up the Ramblers inside the Hornet half. Good ball retention from the Ramblers produced several good scoring chances, and only scrambling Hornet cover defense was able to hold them out. But the Ramblers would not be denied and crashed over for a close range try after 7 minutes. The successful conversion put the Ramblers up 7-0. Back and forth action lead to some niggle from both sides which kept the referee on his toes. All the talk fired up Sai who rumbled 30 meters through the Rambler defense to crash over for the Hornets first try after 17 minutes. The successful conversion made it 7-7. Two successful penalties from Juice was answered by a try from the Ramblers, but the failed conversion left the Hornets in the lead 13-12. The Hornets dominated the line-outs in the first half, but the Rambler scrum started to assert itself just before the break. Good phase play down the left hand side of the field saw the Ramblers win a penalty in the Hornet 22 which was calmly slotted to leave the score 15-13 Ramblers at the break. The Ramblers came alive after some injuries to some key Hornet players in the first half and applied constant pressure with ball in hand. Despite setting up shop in the Hornet half for most of the first 20 minutes of the second half, the Ramblers could only come away with a penalty conversion to extend their lead to 18-13. The Ramblers kept coming but only desperate defense and some untimely errors kept them off the scoreboard. A turnover inside the Hornet 22 and some quick hands down the left hand flank put Brendan Cody into space. Brendan ran over, around and through the Rambler cover defense 60 meters down the left hand touchline for the undisputed TRY OF THE SEASON! Unfortunately diving for the try-line lead to a dislocated shoulder, and we wish him a speedy recovery. Tough conversion from the touchline sailed wide, leaving the score deadlocked at 18 a piece with about 7 minutes to go. From the kickoff the Hornets methodically worked their way down the field and eventually were able to catch the Ramblers offside at the ruck. With the pressure on, Juice had ice in his veins and nailed the penalty from 35 meters out to give the Hornets a 3 point advantage 21-18 with about 3 minutes to go. The Ramblers showed their true colors and would not go away quietly. Some rampaging runs set them up inside the Hornet 22 probing the line. After earning a penalty right on full time, the Ramblers decided to go for the win and run a set play from a penalty tap. But the ball spilled loose, securing the razor thin win for the Hornets, who go into the winter break undefeated and on top of the table. Man of the match was Tommy Cody who tackled his heart out all day.
Score – Hornets = 21, Ramblers = 18
Scrums – Hornets = 12/13 (92%), Ramblers = 8/10 (80%)
Line-outs – Hornets = 6/9 (67%), Ramblers = 6/15 (40%)
Penalties – Hornets = 9, Ramblers = 14.