Hinckley continued their winning start to the season with a comprehensive 42-17 victory against local rivals South Leicester. A brace of tries each for Mitch Lamb and Gaz Turner, one each from Josh Smith and new boy Ben Pointon plus a perfect 6 from 6 conversions from Joe Wilson saw the Hornets romp home against a South side who arrived with ambitions to end Hinckley’s unbeaten record. Defeats for both Sedgley Park and Chester elsewhere mean that Hornets are now four points clear at the top of the table.
It is still early days in the League and we are yet to see how Hornets will perform in the winter mud and rain which proved their undoing last season, but there is undoubtedly a buzz around Leicester Road at the moment.
DOR George Chuter was again pleased with the result but was not so happy with his teams defence and in particular with their discipline. Hornets once more were reduced to 14 men for 20 minutes as this time Henry Povoas and Joe Glover picked up yellow cards. ‘Our discipline needs attention,’ commented Chuter. ‘We can’t continue playing with 14 for lengthy periods if we want to succeed in this division.’
South Director of Rugby, Michael Holford, was sanguine in defeat. ‘We made too many mistakes which you can’t afford to do against a side like Hinckley,’ stated Holford.
It was South though who won the early exchanges. Hinckley hardly touched the ball in the first 5 minutes and found themselves 0-7 down and reduced to 14 men when Povoas was carded for not releasing and South captain Dan Ireland had barged his way over for the opening try which Ben Palmer converted.
Hornets drew level on 15 minutes when Josh Smith was driven over after good approach play had seen them work through the phases from just inside the South half.
And 5 minutes later Hornets grabbed the lead when an attempted interception (or was it a deliberate knock-on) by South went loose, Joe Glover picked up, and the ball was worked to the South line for Mitch Lamb to force his way over for the try.
A knock-on from the restart though handed South possession and eventually Mitchelle Stephenson collected a deft little kick through to score an easy try with the Hinckley defence apparently absent.
But Hornets hit back quickly when an overthrown South line-out inside their own half was collected by Glover who carried to the 22m. He was stripped of the ball in the tackle but South in turn lost possession and Mitch Lamb eventually drove over the line for his second. Wilson’s conversion took the score to 21-14 with half-time beckoning.
There was still time, however, for Glover to pick up Hinckley’s second card when he was penalised in front of his own posts, and Ben Palmer converted to send the visitors in at the break very much in touch at 21-17.
The second half though belonged to Hinckley as South failed to register another score. From the restart, South fumbled the ball, Hornets grabbed possession, worked their way to the South 22, and Gaz Turner burst from the back of a ruck to go over for his first.
Turner grabbed his second 8 minutes later from a catch and drive on 5m after South’s Ben Palmer had been carded on his own 22.
Perhaps the best score of the game was yet to come though. On 61 minutes, Ben Pointon picked up from the rear of a scrum inside his own 22m. The ball then passed through 7 pairs of hands, with debutant Aaron Phillip particularly prominent, before Pointon himself collected the final pass to touch down under the posts. It was quality stuff and for those of a certain age, it evoked memories of the famous Gareth Edwards try for the Barbarians against the All Blacks.
That was a fitting end to the scoring. Hinckley went close a couple more times but with the match won, the cutting edge wasn’t quite there and South were not able to lift themselves for a final effort.
Next week, Hinckley visit Chester who lost for the first time this season at Peterborough Lions on Saturday. They will be anxious to close the gap against the early season flyers.
Updated 17:16 - 3 Jun 2019 by John Tilley