Somerset Cup – Semi Final

North Petherton 34 – Hornets 40

Saturday 12th March 2016

Report By Simon Freeman

A pulsating match in excellent conditions produced a high scoring battle. The opening quarter ultimately decided the outcome as the visitors Hornets blew Pethy out of the water. Petherton showed the character of the previous month to mount a serious challenge and came within a whisker of moving in to the final.

Captains Comments (Damian Griffin) “With many key players unavailable this weekend we were never expecting big things from this game and was using it as a training match ready for our league fight against chard so there was no pressure on us and we had a really relaxed attitude. Maybe this is the way we should treat every game and take the pressure away from us as it was some of the best rugby we have played this season and to play like that against a very good side in the league above was definitely a confidence booster for us all. With the weather getting better and the pitch a bit firmer this definitely suits the style of rugby we want to play and we look forward to playing the rest of our games ahead. The support we had from the crowd was amazing and it was great to put on a show for them which I think they appreciated despite the final result”

The first eight minutes gave no indication of the avalanche of points that was to develop as both teams showed plenty of ambition but defences held firm. However, by the 21st minute Hornets had stormed in to a 26 point lead with a combination of fast attacks, sublime passing and excellent support play. The visitors scored their tries from all over the park and began to look dangerous whenever they were in possession.

Pethy kept their spirits up despite the shock of conceding points still played with enterprise. Mac Taylor put in a vital tackle out wide which created some uncertainty and in a flash Damian Griffin set off on a speedy 40 metre dash to the line and even with a couple of defenders closing in on him he managed to dot down, Harry Roberts converted (7-26).

The score lifted the crowd and the players and Pethy began to play with purpose, the forwards began to make in roads with Aiden Cotton, Matt Hastie and Toby Harris all making their presence felt. The momentum was with Pethy as Arron Gibbs showed his strength to power his way over to narrow the scores to 12-26.

The visitors showed their quality and bounced back by moving the ball around at speed which saw Pethy working overtime in keeping them out with Dan Morgan, Kyle Presscott and Carl Brown putting in numerous tackles. However, just as the pressure looked to be over Hornets added a bit more to score another converted try to finish the first half scoring. (12-33)

The second half saw a big shift as Pethy came out with renewed confidence and immediately place the visitors under pressure. Nic Sestaret playing at ten varied the game to move Pethy forward. Hornets defence was strong and Pethy seemed to be making more ground from broken field situations and when Gavin Hancock released James Taylor to score Pethy spirits were lifted further. (17-33)

As before Hornets showed their grit and began to move the ball around to score another converted try 17-40. At this moment the fun seemed to begin as Pethy set about Hornets and test them fully and with plenty of time on the clock Griffin went over for his second, Roberts converted. (24-40) The momentum continued and with home crowd getting behind their team the Pethy forwards again linked well and after a series of short breaks they found space for Roberts to dive over in the corner (29-40).

Back came the visitors who skilfully worked their way down field after forcing a series of penalties and again began to test the Pethy resolve. Pethy kept their shape and discipline to make vital tackles and eventually shut out Hornets.This time it was for Pethy to defend and shut out the creative visitors. As the game entered the last five minutes Pethy again moved their way down field and further good work from the forwards after a slick backs break allowed Jack Kohler to score and move Pethy to within one score 34-40. Pethy did have one final chance to win the game but the official decided it was not to be. The final whistle blew to end a superb cup match from which Pethy can take many positives and Hornets move onto the final against Weston. Good luck to both clubs.