Hinckley’s unbeaten run of eight games came crashing down in spectacular fashion against a Dings side who were faster, slicker and more clinical in every aspect of the game, running in nine tries to just three for the visitors. Hornets had undoubtedly suffered from only playing one game since early December and were rusty in the extreme. Little went right for the Leicester Road men, but nothing could take away the fact that this was an outstanding performance from Dings whose promotion credentials were obvious to see. Hinckley were hammered!
The defeat sees Hornets drop to sixth in the League although with a game in hand on all the teams above them except Exeter University. Dings on the other hand further consolidated their second place and are now nine points clear of the chasing pack. Luctonians are a further six points ahead of Dings in what is beginning to look like a two-horse race for the title. Hinckley are still in the race but cannot now be considered anything but outsiders for promotion. A bonus point win next week against struggling Newport (Salop) is essential if the title, and promotion, is not to slip away.
DOR Chris Campbell was disappointed with the result but accepting of Dings superiority on the day. ‘We were beaten by a better side and we have to be honest about that. We were really poor defensively in the first half, as bad as we have been for a while in all honesty, which I think is in part due to a lack of sharpness having only played once in 6 weeks. We can’t ignore that however and there is going to be have to be some serious work done on the training field this week to sort this before next weekend.’
‘Not getting much ball didn’t help our cause and our lack of ability to win lineout ball meant we couldn’t produce much in attack. We actually scored three tries without too much drama when we did have it which makes the issues in other areas of the game even more frustrating.’
‘It’s a set-back, but you have to make sure you don’t get too high when you win and too low when you lose. Before this we hadn’t lost since the middle of October and I’m sure we will return to winning ways next week.’
Hinckley were behind inside five minutes. A typical slick exit from their own 22m ended with a chip from halfway into the Hinckley 22m. Flanker Matt Lane on the chase got the better of a bobbling ball as a stretched Hinckley failed to deal with it, and was able to stroll through for the score, despite more than a strong suspicion of a knock-on as the ball was collected.
Five minutes later it was 12-0 to the home side after Dings had driven the Hinckley pack over the line from a 5m line-out with nonchalant ease. Fly-half Jacob Perry converted.
Hinckley did then put points on the board when, from a penalty line-out just inside the Dings 22m, the ball was sent right. As Iwan Burgwin attempted an off-load in the tackle, the Dings defender knocked the ball back and Rory Vowles was on it like a shot to claim the try. When Callum Rowe added the extras, it looked as if it was finally game-on.
The feeling was short-lived. The restart kick sailed over the Hinckley jumper into the hands of the Dings winger who sprinted for the line. A couple of off-loads later and Lane went over for his second. It was a soft try to say the least.
Dings secured the bonus point just before the half-hour mark when Dings were allowed to run through the Hinckley defence almost unchallenged from a scrum on 30m and when Perry put over the conversion it was 24-7.
Five minutes later hooker Joe Hawkesbury made it five for Dings when again the Dings pack drove over from a 5m penalty line-out and again Perry converted – 31-7.
Hornets did respond, also from a penalty line-out 10m from the Dings line, when Reuben Logan broke from the back of the maul to stretch out to place the ball over the line in the tackle. Again, there was some hope of a fightback but the break could not come soon enough for Hornets and when the whistle did come it was with some relief that the men in black and amber trudged off to re-group.
The visiting support comforted themselves that in the reverse fixture back in September, Hornets had come from 26-0 down just before the break to win 29-26 and when, on the return, Hinckley started the better side, hopes of another great escape were kindled.
Dings killed off that hope, however, when Jake Holcombe was driven over from yet another 5m penalty line-out to take the score out to 36-12.
Hornets did pull one back courtesy of Matt Arden who ran through to touch down a clever kick into the goal-line area from Rory Vowles and then added the extras himself.
That good work though was undermined when again Hornets did not field the restart kick and Dings were able to set up yet another penalty line-out 5m out. Hinckley did not challenge at the line-out, hoping for the penalty, but the referee saw nothing wrong with the Dings drive and lock Will Thompson was able to touch down for the score.
With the game all but lost, play began to break up as Hornets looked for the bonus point try. Unfortunately, it was Dings who were able to take advantage. First, Harry Tarling was able to sprint through a hole in the Hinckley line for a score, and then, on the cusp of full-time, the Hinckley pack were pushed off their own scrummage ball for the final try. Perry converted both tries to take the final score to 55-19. It was a sad end to a chastening afternoon for the Hinckley men.