22 May 2024

Hollismen progress after outfoxing old rivals

Hornsea RUFC 29
Hessle RUFC 16

With the league season now over, it was the turn of the Papa Johns National Cup for Hornsea to focus on, and the Round 1 draw saw them with a home tie against their oldest rivals Hessle.

With Hessle bringing a large touchline support, added to the usual strong Hornsea crowd, it led to a good local derby atmosphere, and for the third time this season, it was Hornsea who came out on top, winning 29-16, in doing so they extended their unbeaten run against their opponents to eight matches; in fact, you have to go back to 2017 to find Hornsea’s last defeat to Hessle.

To use the cliché, the game was well and truly “a game of two halves”, with Hessle in control in the first half as they used their heavier pack well, and Hornsea outplaying them in the second half with their speed and fitness being the key.

Hessle started the match strongly with their larger pack making some good ground early on. After five minutes of controlled possession, they worked their way downfield towards the Hornsea line and scored to open the scoring, 0-5.

From the kick-off, Hornsea managed some possession of themselves, but solid Hessle defence meant there was no way through for the home side.

After 20 minutes, Hessle were on the attack again, and following their forwards advancing well they were unlucky not to score when a kick through was collected and touched down, but the referee brought play back for an infringement. Shortly after this, another try went begging for Hessle as they continued to pressure the Hornsea try line, with only some brave defence, notably by Andy Salvidge, Ed Webster, and Jake Bowen, holding the away side out.

With five minutes to go in the half, Hornsea finally managed to win some quick ball with Liam Tudor Bateman and Matty Smallwood combining well. Hornsea were awarded a penalty, and fly-half Tim Roberts kicked well in a blustery wind to reduce the deficit to 3-5.

However, in the final play of the half, Hessle had again moved upfield well and when Hornsea were penalised at the breakdown, the Hessle fly-half cancelled out the Hornsea penalty with one of their own, 3-8.

The second half was a different game, the heavier Hessle pack started to tire and the hard-working Hornsea eight started to get the upper hand, which led to the Hollismen being able to use their pacey powerful backs more, with the Hessle defence having no answer.

Hornsea inside centre Liam Tudor Bateman sparked Hornsea into life just five minutes into the second half as he darted through a gap and crashed over the line to bring the scores level. Tim Roberts then added a superbly struck conversion to give Hornsea the lead for the first time in the match, 10-8.

Hessle hit back just three minutes later with another well-struck penalty to regain the lead, 10-11.

The next 10 minutes decided the match, with Hornsea’s outside centre Matty Smallwood scoring two stunning tries, showing a really sharp turn of pace and power to match, the classy centre scoring both scores from distance, and with Roberts converting both, the score moved to 24-11 in Hornsea’s favour.

With five minutes to go Hessle scored a try with a rare flurry into the Hornsea half, but Hornsea had the final word with their fourth try of the match, with a try from Tim Roberts, after good work from Jonty Ashton and Andy Finch, Roberts raced over to score, to make it 29-16 at full time.

Speaking after the match, Hornsea captain Ed Webster was in buoyant mood. He said: “As ever Hessle were really up for it and they gave us a fair few problems in the first half. We were able to open up in the second half which allowed us to use our strengths to get the win, all of the lads put in a great shift.”

Victory for Hornsea sees them progress to the next round with Knottingley their opponents at home on Saturday 20th April, 3pm kick-off.

Tries: Smallwood x 2, Tudor Bateman x 1, Roberts x 1. Conversions: Roberts x 3. Penalties: Roberts x 1