Hornets vs Outlaws 03/10/18.
The first game back from winter break saw the Outlaws travel in from Columbia to take on the undefeated Hornets at Forrest Park. The Outlaws arrived in full force complete with entourage and were fired up for the game well before kickoff. Both teams showed signs of off-season rust in the early going with both teams finding it difficult to maintain continuity and possession. The Outlaws press defence put pressure on the Hornets and cut down attacking space quickly. Deep kicks from the Hornets found a dangerous back 3 for the Outlaws leading to counter attacks with only some handling errors preventing them from big gains and possible scores. Finally the Hornets were able to string together some possession with good combinations out wide between Sai, Tommy Bach, Zac Hatraf and Brendan Cody leading to big gains down the right wing. One attacking raid into the Outlaws 22 and some quick hands to the left off the next ruck found some space for the baby giraffe Brad Christ to high step over for the first try of the new year. Successful conversion from Zac made it 7-0 Hornets after 21 minutes. Zac nailed a difficult penalty attempt to extend the lead to 10-0 to the Hornets after 25 minutes. But the Outlaws took advantage from some confusion from a penalty advantage to catch the Hornets napping off a loose ball to score their first try after 33 minutes. Conversion was true to narrow the gap to 10-7 after 33 minutes. But the Hornets responded well and another rampaging run from Sai the human bowling ball set up camp inside the Outlaw 22. Hands to the right side saw a huge overlap with Billy Dunaway crashing over to score with men outside him. Zac slotted a sideline conversion to extend the Hornet lead to 17-7. Some penalties from the ensuing kickoff piggybacked the Hornets down the field quickly and Sai took advantage with a quick tap to crash over for a try close to the sticks. Conversion extended the Hornet lead to 24-7 going into the halftime break. The Outlaws rang the changes at halftime in an extend to stem the tide, which paid some immediate dividends. An 8-man pick off an attacking scrum in the Hornet 22 produce the first try of the second half for the Outlaws. The conversion narrowed the gap to 24-14 after 46 minutes. But the Hornets began to pick up steam stringing together more possession as the half wore on. Again Sai would not be denied and rampaged over for another try after 52 minutes. Successful conversion made the score 31-14 after 52 minutes. Fatigue began to set in with this being the first game of the new year for both squads. This lead to some sloppy play, and the Hornets took their foot off the gas with the end of the game in sight. But an infusion from good Zac found him at the end of a backline move down the lefthand sideline and a beautiful in and away move saw him score untouched. Another conversion from Zac completed his perfect day with the boot and made the score 38-14. The Outlaws scored a consolation try from a quick tap through some tired Hornet defence to narrow the final score to 38-26. Solid win for the Hornets in the first game of the spring campaign, and continuing their undefeated season. However, lots of areas for improvement with some tough matches ahead and playoffs on the horizon. Best of the forwards were Mike Jones, Brady and Billy Dunaway. While in the backs Brendan Cody, Sai and Tommy Bach had strong games. Man of the match was Tommy Bach.
Score – Hornets - 38 (Tries – Sai x 2, Brad Christ x1, Billy Dunaway x 1, good Zac x 1; Conversion – Zac Hatraf = 5/5, Penalties – Zac Hatraf = 1/1), Outlaws - 26
Scrums – Hornets = 5/6 (83%), Outlaws = 8/9 (89%)
Lineouts – Hornets = 5/6 (83%), Outlaws = 5/11 (45%)
Penalties – Hornets = 11, Outlaws = 15.