1st XV
Sat 27 Apr 2024  ·  National League 2 West
Hinckley Rugby Club
1st XV
Tries: J Ramshaw, S Tutt, R VowlesConversions: R Vowles (3)Penalties: R Vowles (2)
Hornets end with narrow defeat at Bournville

Hornets end with narrow defeat at Bournville

Nick Robinson28 Apr - 19:52
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Bournville 28 Hinckley 27

Hinckley’s stuttering campaign reached its final chapter on Saturday with a single point, last minute defeat at the hands of a Bournville side who had been crushed by the Hornets 45-28 in the very first game of what has ultimately proved a very disappointing season for the Leicester Road men.

True, Bournville are a much-improved team compared to that which turned out at Leicester Road earlier in the season (their record in the second part of the season is testimony to that), and true, there was little to be played for in this concluding fixture, but this was yet another game that Hinckley should have won at a canter but contrived to throw away.

In many respects, it mirrored their season. Some flashes of brilliance (Rory Vowles was again outstanding) were coupled naïve defending and schoolboy errors that would have had the coaching staff despairing. It left the travelling support, of which there were many, with a crippling sense of frustration at what might have been.

The defeat means Hornets finish in seventh position, some 36 points behind champions Dings Crusaders whom Hinckley had ambitions of overhauling just a few short weeks ago. Hinckley were one of only three teams to inflict defeat on the Champions but this result concludes a sequence of six defeats in eight outings for the Hornets that will be best forgotten. Unfortunately, it will remind many of the final weeks of the previous season when Hinckley also faded badly.

DOR Chris Campbell reflected on what might have been while looking forward to preparations for next season. ‘We played some beautiful stuff in the first half and I said to the lads at half time we would have had 6 tries instead of 3 on another day with the tries we had disallowed, but in the end, what was a very heavy pack just ran out of steam.’

‘Big credit to Jack Ramshaw - he was in no fit state to play at all but battled his way through the game and put the team well ahead of his own well-being. Credit too to the backs who had to undergo a huge reorganisation when we lost first Ben Pointon and then Callum Rowe to injury.’

‘We can spend hours reviewing this and other things, but the season is over, and we look forward. We have already made 4 exciting new signings for next year, and it’s not been a challenge to get players to recommit. We have 134 days to go until the first league game of next season and we intend to use them wisely.’

‘Everyone who has watched this team knows there is the talent there to make a push for the top of the table. It hasn’t happened this year but that isn’t going to break our ambition. We know where we need to improve and we will do everything we can to be ready to go next year.’

Hinckley had very much the better of the early exchanges although it was Bournville who drew first blood with a Jacob Fewtrell penalty from 35m after Hinckley were penalised in the scrum.

Jack Ramshaw responded almost immediately after Vowles and Pointon had combined to carry Hinckley from their own half almost to the line, leaving the pack to work the ball over. Vowles converted.

A Hinckley scrum on the Bournville 22m as the first quarter ended gave the Hinckley backs another opportunity to show what they are capable of with some delightful interchanges that eventually saw winger Sam Tutt go over by the posts. Vowles converted and Hinckley appeared to be flying.

Bournville came back with a try of their own shortly afterwards when the ball was released right from a scrum in the middle of the field and winger Alex Evans went over in the corner (the conversion hit the post) but Hinckley grabbed a third with just three minutes of the half remaining. A quick tap penalty was carried to 15m, sent right, and a classic dummy from Vowles opened up the line for him to go over under the posts. The conversion was a formality and Hinckley were comfortable at 8-21. It should have been a winning position.

But Hornets then suffered one of their characteristic implosions. First a telegraphed pass in midfield was easily picked off by Bournville centre Sam Grimshaw who ran unchallenged to the line and Fewtrell converted. Then, as has become an alarming pattern, six minutes into the second period, Hornets conceded again. This time it was from a catch and drive from a Bournville line-out on the Hinckley 22m, when second-row Ben Meakin broke off the back of the maul to drive over. All of a sudden 8-21 had become 20-21 and Hornets were in a fight.

It was far from irretrievable though and Hornets had the opportunities to seal the game even then. Vowles opted to take the points from a penalty in front of the Bournville posts and added a second three minutes later to extend the lead to seven points.

Nigel Mukarati was unlucky not to score when he was adjudged to knock-on as he crossed the line, although it looked very much as if the Bournville defender had knocked the ball onto his chest as he tried to collect the final pass. Another referee might have awarded a penalty try for a deliberate knock-on.

Bournville though, sensing that a victory was now in sight continued to press and as the game entered the final quarter, they seized their chance. They opted to scrum a penalty 15m from the Hinckley line. The ball went right and some naïve defending out wide gave full-back Owen Williams a simple walk in. It was a poor try to concede at that stage of the game. Fewtrell though couldn’t convert and Hornets still led by the narrowest of margins.

Chances continued to come and go but without a change to the score and it looked likely that Hinckley might just hang on. But with just a couple of minutes left on the clock further naivete in the middle of the field trying to wind the clock down when a good boot to the corner would probably have sufficed, handed Bournville a penalty 30m out. Rhys Williams stepped up and nailed it to put his side in front for the first time since the early minutes.

There was time for a restart but Hornets could not recover the ball from the kick-off and Williams eventually booted the ball out into the car park to end the game.

There is always next year though and it has to be said that, with the Hinckley Staghounds winning their league at a canter for the second year in succession, the Hunters claiming top spot in their division, the U23’s coming third, and the Colts topping their league with the Cup final to come, the future does look bright for Hinckley.

Nick Robinson

Match details

Match date

Sat 27 Apr 2024




National League 2 West

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