This was never going to be an easy game for the Hornets. Away to a side hard on their heels in third place in the division and on a run of 6 straight wins on the bounce, George Chuter’s men knew they would have to be on the top of their game to take anything from this match. To go into the game shorn by injury and unavailability of five of their starting pack, and with something of a makeshift bench, was, therefore, always likely to prove a bridge too far for the Hornets. And so it proved!
Hudderfield ran in 7 tries against a sole consolation effort from Ryan Hough as the game came to a close, and eclipsed the Hinckley men in almost every area of play. This was a vastly different team to that which Hornets had completed a comfortable double over last season and they very much established themselves as title contenders.
As the teams ran out, the temperature was a reminder that the winter is fast approaching after the balmy conditions of recent weeks but Lockwood Park still looked a picture with an immaculate pitch and bright sunshine.
Hinckley kicked off into the breeze and the early stages proved relatively even as both side probed for an opening.
After 15 minutes though, Hornets suffered a further blow to their hopes when a clash of heads saw the referee call a halt to play with James Moreton and one of the ‘Field pack lying prone. The Huddersfield man recovered but Moreton had to leave the filed with a deep gash to his forehead which meant he was to play no further part in the game.
Things got worse for Hornets 3 minutes later Joe Wilson was carded for a deliberate knock-on and ‘Field kicked for the corner. Hinckley held off from the resultant line-out hoping to win a penalty but it never came and flanker Ross Thornton forced his way over to open the scoring for the hosts.
With Hornets now down to 14, Field took advantage when Luke Coltman was turned over on his 10m line and the ball found it’s way to Harry Davey out wide to go over unchallenged.
Hinckley did peg the lead back to 14-3 when Joe Glover slotted a penalty when ‘Field killed the ball under their own posts but on 27 minutes, ‘Field added a third try when the pack drove a line-out ball on the 10m line deep into the Hinckley 22m. The ball was released and found Wilkinson out wide to go over. The conversion was missed.
That’s how it remained until the interval although Hinckley did go close as the half drew to a close when the pack was held up just short of the line from a 5m lineout.
‘Field extended their lead almost form the restart. A break from Harry Davey took them deep into the Hinckley 22m forcing Hornets to concede a lineout 5m from the line. A neat catch and drive saw lock Nick Sharpe force his way over to secure the ‘Field bonus point.
A few minutes later, ‘Field repeated the act when Hinckley were penalised for not releasing 30m out. Field kicked for the corner and this time flanker Lewis Bradley drove over from the resultant line-out to take the score to 29-3.
The ‘Field backs got in on the act shortly afterwards when Will Milner glided through a gap in the Hinckley defence from 25m to touch down. Milner converted his own score and Hornets were dead and buried at 36-3.
An interception try by Davey from halfway with 15 to go was the final nail in the coffin on what had proved to be a dismal afternoon for the Hornets. Hough’s late score was well worked when Hornets turned the ball over on halfway and worked the ball to the left where Hough took a neat pass to stroll over, but it did little to lift the mood of the travelling support.
George Chuter looked for the positives post match. ‘We were well beaten today by a well drilled side who were really up for it. That said, we’ve taken quite a hit with injuries in the last couple of weeks and I was pleased with the way the lads kept at it throughout the game. We could easily have capitulated but we never gave up and the lads can take credit for that.’
Next week, Hornets welcome last years second placed side Sedgley Park to Leicester Road. Sedgley are one place and one point behind Hinckley in the division and will be looking to establish their own championship credentials. It won’t get any easier for the Hornets.
Updated 12:04 - 28 Oct 2018 by Nick Robinson