Hornets defeat Chiefs to secure league title

HORNETS 1st XV  90pts  v  SIDMOUTH 1st XV  10pts


As expected, Hornets secured the league championship, and automatic promotion, with this convincing win over depleted Sidmouth Chiefs. For their part, the Chiefs once again showed commendable spirit against a big and very good side, making them work hard for all their points.


For the first half hour this was a genuine contest thanks to a splendid solo try from Charlie Cotton and some excellent defensive work, which forced the home side into a series of errors. However, once the powerful Hornets pack took control to dominate possession, there was only ever going to be one outcome.


Hornets kicked off in good conditions and, when the Chiefs failed to secure the ball, were quickly on the attack. They kept the ball through several phases until an overlap was created for the number six to score in the right corner. They soon added a second from a lineout catch-and-drive routine. Neither was converted.


When Hornets dropped the ball just inside the Sidmouth 22, Charlie Cotton snapped up the loose ball and jinked through two players before setting off up field. The Colts wingman then unceremoniously handed off the full back before touching down under the posts. Dan Retter added the conversion.


Cotton was in the action again minutes later on the end of a good handling move. As the cover closed in, he kicked ahead but was beaten in the chase.


Hornets scored a third try, when the full back joined the line at pace to cut through to touch down under the posts, leaving a simple conversion.


The Chiefs replied with forwards and backs combining well in a strong attacking move. The reward was a Dan Retter penalty to keep them in touch.


When the Hornets pack rumbled over from another lineout maul to secure the bonus point try, the floodgates opened and tries followed at regular intervals.


Despite the avalanche of points, the Chiefs continued to contribute. Sidmouth man-of-the-match Gavin Pearson salvaged much possession at the base of a retreating scrum to gain a lot of valuable yards. Dan Rugg covered every blade of grass as usual, while Tim Phillips, normally a hooker, made up a hard-working back row. Harry Chesterton, in the unaccustomed position of full back, looked dangerous every time he joined the line, and George Locke made some promising breaks in the centre. Neil Barratt hooked well in a retreating scrum and showed up well around the field.