Hinckley completed their pre-season preparations with a visit to National 1 side Cinderford. In the end, the hosts proved too strong for the Hornets running in five tries to complete a 31-5 victory with Hornets only try coming from Joe Wilson.
Hinckley Director of Rugby Scott Hamilton though was far from despondent. ‘Cinderford deserved their win although I did think that the score rather flattered them. There were periods in the game, particularly in the early stages when we were dominant but we couldn’t put the points on the board.’
‘That said, I felt it was just the sort of work-out we needed to get the lads in the right mind-set for next week. Cinderford are a big, strong side who gave our lads a real test, particularly in the pack. They showed us where we need to be if we want to get up to the next level and stay there.’
This coming Saturday, Hornets entertain Wirral side Caldy at Leicester Road, who narrowly failed to retain their National 1 status in the last game of last season’s campaign. ‘Caldy are probably the pre-season favourites to win the division this time,’ commented Hamilton, ‘so it will be a real test of our own promotion credentials early in the season. Fortunately, we should be picking from a position of strength. One or two of the lads have little niggles but we are expecting that they will all be available for selection. We have concentrated on fitness in our training to date but will be easing back a little this week to make sure everyone is in top condition for Saturday. We are all ready for the challenge and I for one am looking forward to the new campaign.’
Hinckley Seconds also took the long ride down to Cinderford and turned the tables on the Foresters with a narrow 17-14 victory. ‘That result was really encouraging,’ explained Hamilton. ‘We had a number of young lads out there who all stood up well and I felt we should perhaps have won by more. In the context of the season, it’s good to know we have quality players available should we lose anyone to injury.’
The loss to Cinderford come on the back of a high scoring 45-38 defeat to National 2 North rivals, Loughborough Students who again entertain Hinckley, this time in the League, on September 14. Josh Greatrix, Joe Wilson (2), Ben Pointon (2), and Dale Bowyer scored the tries for the Hornets.
With both sides featuring around 30 players during the course of the afternoon and the game being played over three thirty minute periods, little could be read into the result but there was encouragement for the Hornets against a side who were playing National 1 rugby last season. The Hinckley pack dominated their opposite numbers for much of the game, and although there were a number of defensive blunders (not unexpected at this stage of the season), there was also some exciting back play on display.
The Caldy game kicks off at 3.00 this coming Saturday and the Club is hoping for a sizable crowd to see the first game of what promises to be an exciting season for the Hornets.