1st XV
Sat 13 Apr 2024  ·  National League 2 West
Hinckley Rugby Club
1st XV
Tries: B Pointon, R Vowles (3)Conversions: R Vowles (3)Penalties: R VowlesYellow Carded: A Salt
Hornets edged out by Luctonians in 10 try thriller

Hornets edged out by Luctonians in 10 try thriller

Nick Robinson14 Apr - 23:06
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Hinckley 29 Luctonians 32

This, for the neutral, was a cracking game of rugby. True, Hinckley fell to their fifth defeat in their last seven games but this was a much-improved performance on recent games. Luctonians came into the game still with an outside chance of promotion which they were not going to surrender lightly, while Hornets were looking to complete a double on the early season frontrunners. It was feisty and combative and, in the end, went to the wire and could have gone either way right up to the final play. But Luctonians did deserve their victory, outscoring Hinckley by six tries to four and in truth had Lucts’ fly-half Tom Jones not had such a disastrous day with the boot (he only managed one conversion from six attempts), Lucts would have sealed the win a little earlier than proved to be the case.

Rory Vowles amassed 24 of the 29 Hinckley points on his return from injury, including a hat-trick of tries, and his creative influence was a crucial factor in Hinckley’s return to form. Ben Pointon scored another of his trademark tries with a long-range break which carried him to the line from halfway, and Hornets looked dangerous throughout when in possession.

On the downside though, Hornets conceded way too many penalties, particularly when in possession, which very much limited their ability to compete. Moreover, they conceded no less than three tries from rolling mauls set up as a result of penalty kicks to the corner, and once more, they conceded points within minutes of the return from the half time break. There’s much still to work on.

DOR Chris Campbell summed it up pretty well. ‘Today's game was our whole season rolled into 80 minutes. Did we play well? Yes. Did we score some great tries? Yes. Were we too easy to score against? Yes. But that doesn’t mean we fell apart defensively. We actually set up well and put some really pressure on them, but we surrendered opportunities we just didn’t need to give up. And, as you would expect from a team in their league position, Luctonians took their opportunities.’

‘This game is one which, if we are serious about building a challenge next year, we will have to look at, and learn from for the above reasons but it was also an example, in Luctonians, of how a well-coached and well organised team do what they are good at and do it well.’

‘I thought Rory Vowles was fantastic - not just with the tries but the threat he brought bringing other players into the game, whilst Aaron Pope continues to grow week on week.’

Hornets again started well and dominated proceedings for much of the first quarter. They grabbed the first try after just six minutes when Henry Higginson took a quick tap for a penalty awarded just five metres from the Lucts’ line and fed Vowles (who had gone close moments earlier) on his outside to round the defence for one of his simpler tries.

Vowles added the extras and then extended the lead ten minutes later with an easy penalty after the Hinckley scrum had destroyed their opposite numbers just inside the Lucts 22m in front of the posts.

Lucts were working their way back into the game however and pulled the score back to 10-7 on 21 minutes when prop Joe White eventually burrowed his way over the line after Lucts besieged the Hinckley line from a short penalty line-out. Jones converted.

They then wrested the lead just a couple of minutes later. The ball went loose at the back of a Hinckley ruck in the Lucts’ 22m and was seized on by the visitors. Flanker Archie Benson then broke from a maul to run 50m before finding speedster Charlie Grimes on his shoulder to complete the score. It was a little too easy.

But Hornets did respond… and quickly. A spectacular miss pass on halfway from Vowles found Aaron Pope out wide. Pope almost made the line but when he was hauled down that man Vowles was there again to jink his way over the line.

From the kick-off though, Hornets failed to deal with the restart kick and Vowles was caught offside just inside the 22m trying to retrieve the situation. Hutton put the kick in the corner and, although the drive was stopped, the ball eventually found its way to Grimes who scampered over for the score.

That made it 15-17 and that’s how it remained until the break, although Hornets were somewhat fortunate not to concede a fourth try when Lucts’ full-back Josh Grimes was called back for a forward pass just as he dotted the ball over the line.

As has become a habit though, Hinckley did concede within minutes of the restart. They conceded a scrum penalty on their own 10m and some unnecessary backchat from Harper led to them being marched 10m closer. Jones kicked to the corner and the pack did the rest rather too easily. Hooker Ben Link claimed the score.

Four minutes later, a Ben Pointon special, breaking from the back of a ruck just inside the Lucts’ half to run to the line, pulled things back and Vowles’ conversion levelled the scores.

And it was Vowles again two minutes later, intercepting on halfway and running in under the posts for his third try and the bonus point. His conversion took Hinckley seven points clear and the home support thought they sensed victory.

Lucts were having none of it though and two straight-forward tries from driving mauls within five minutes of each other both from short line-outs conceded from penalties, and both scored by Link put them back in front.

Vowles did have an opportunity to level the scores with a long-range penalty but it fell short and Callum Rowe wasted a further chance when he kicked a penalty dead when going for the corner.

And that was that! Lucts played for the whistle and, as soon as the clock ticked into the red, hoofed it into touch to claim the victory. It was not a disaster for Hinckley but it was another game that they will think that they could have won.

Nick Robinson

Match details

Match date

Sat 13 Apr 2024




National League 2 West

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