Hinckley bounced back from a poor performance at Huddersfield last week to record an emphatic 32-14 victory against Sedgley Park Tigers at Leicester Road on Saturday. The victory saw them leapfrog last weeks opponents and return to second place in the table.
In his pre-match notes, Director of Rugby George Chuter had criticised his men for poor ball retention, lack of direct and incisive running and too many missed tackles against Huddersfield and called for greater accuracy and a more clinical approach this time round. His words hit home as Hornets turned in one of their best performances of the season against a Tigers side, who prior to the game, sat just one point behind them in the table and could boast of being the second highest scorers in the division.
Tries from veteran Scott Hamilton, Ben Pointon, Alex Branson, and Aaron Phillip plus 3 conversions and 2 penalties from Joe Wilson saw the Hornets home.
The floodlights were on from the kick-off on a dull and dreary afternoon but conditions were generally conducive to the running game favoured by the hosts.
The first try came from Hornets on 12 minutes. Tigers were penalised for dropping the scrum just inside their half, and Joe Wilson kicked Hornets to within 10m. The drive from the lineout went down but quick ball and a sumptuous miss pass from Wilson allowed Hamilton to go over for the score. Wilson added the extras.
Both sides continued to probe with some enterprising rugby from both sides but the score remained at 7-0 until a lengthy stoppage for one of the Sedgley players to receive attention for what appeared to be a serious leg injury.
Almost from the restart, with Sedgley on the attack on the Hinckley 22m line, Aaron Phillip stripped the ball from Tigers scrum half Simon Parrott and set off on a scorching run for the line with the Sedgley cover in desperate pursuit. Philip was too quick though and touched down in the corner. Wilson hit the post with the conversion.
Wilson made amends shortly afterwards, slotting a penalty from 30m to extend the lead to 15 points with the half drawing to a close.
There was still time though for an exchange of tries as the crowd started to question if the referee’s watch had stopped. First, with Hornets under pressure 5m out from their own line, Gaz Turner stripped the ball and handed on to Ryan Hough who in turn released Callum Dacey out wide. Dacey was brought down just short but the support was there and Alex Branson crashed over the line and Wilson added the conversion.
Sedgley responded almost immediately. A penalty kick took the Tigers to within 15m and, although the line-out drive was well defended, Hornets were unable to hold out as Sedgley put together a series of well executed phases. Tigers’ captain Matt Riley eventually broke through to touch down under the posts and the two sides went into the break at 22-7.
On the resumption, Hinckley hit back immediately. Recovering the ball from the kick-off, Hornets were able to carry the ball deep into Sedgley territory enabling Ben Pointon to dart over for the bonus point score which Wilson converted.
Sedgley then found themselves pinned in their own half for virtually all of the third quarter despite having more then their fare share of possession as Hornets demonstrated that the lessons of the Huddersfield defeat had been well learnt.
Sedgley did eventually break out of their half and for much of the final quarter Hornets had to withstand some relentless Tigers pressure as they desperately sought a way through the black and amber wall. The pressure did eventually tell after 70 minutes when the Sedgley wing managed to get on the end of a clever kick through the Hinckley line to score. The conversion took the score to 29-14.
Sedgley’s frustration got the better of them 5 minutes later when the touch judge intervened to send a man to the bin but Hornets were unable to take advantage. Wilson kicked the penalty to within 5m but the line-out throw was adjudged not straight and the chance went begging.
Phillip thought he was in for his second try as full-time approached but was called back for a forward pass and it was left to Wilson to end the scoring when he slotted a penalty deep into added time.
George Chuter was a happy man after the game. ‘There was some brilliant defence out there for lengthy periods and our discipline was better this week although it was a shame Jamie Skeritt picked up a yellow right at the death. We also scored some really good trys.’
Hornets take a break next week before a trip to Otley on November 17.
Updated 15:30 - 4 Nov 2018 by Nick Robinson