14 Aug 2022
Hornets get back to winning ways with hard-fought win
Rochdale Hornets got their first win under new Head Coach Gary Thornton with a 34-14 victory over Cornwall, in a fiery encounter at the Crown Oil Arena.
On a frantic afternoon that saw eight cards given by referee Cameron Worsley, it was Hornets’ wingers who stood up and delivered with Cian Tyrer and Dan Nixon scoring two tries each.
But, it was Cornwall who made the stronger start to the Round 17 tie.
After winning a scrum in midfield, former Hornets man Tom Ashton broke down the left edge before finding Jayden Myers who raced in to score under the posts after 13 minutes.
Hornets hit back almost instantly with Fuifui Moimoi forcing his way over the try line in typically brutal fashion.
Ben O’Keefe added the extras to level the scores, but Neil Kelly’s side moved back into the lead when Adam Rusling took the two points on offer from a Rochdale high tackle.
Again Hornets fought back though with Cian Tyrer racing in for his first try shortly after – having been picked out brilliantly by Gregg McNally at dummy half.
The lead then changed hands once again, some seven minutes later, when prop forward Jack Ray bundled his way over from close range after the visitors had benefitted from a set restart.
Kieran Rush and Nathan Cullen were both then yellow carded for an incident in the build-up to the try, which left both sides with 12 men.
Thornton’s side responded the better of the two teams to the cards and scored two quick-fire tries to take a narrow lead into the break.
The first of which saw Dan Nixon register his second try in as many games, before Tom Whitehead marked his first Hornets appearance with an impressive score.
The game continued to be closely contested in the second half, despite Joe Taira seeing yellow for a cannonball tackle.
And it wasn’t until Tyrer’s second try – on 58 minutes – that Hornets began to pull away.
Some sharp hands between halfbacks Cobi Green and McNally gave Jy Hitchcox the platform to pick out the right wing who took the chance confidently.
Eight minutes later, it was the turn of fellow winger Nixon to double his tally.
Tyrer again was influential in the build-up with a fine break which was followed up by Dan Brewin, before the ball worked its way out to the left wing for another finely worked try.
Tempers then began to flare between the two sides after Rush sparked an altercation with an incident at the play the ball.
The melee that ensued saw Fenton Rogers and Cole Connolly red carded, as well as yellow cards for Ray and Rush.
Things got worse for Cornwall just moments after play resumed when Coby Nichol was yellow carded for dissent, leaving the visitors to finish the game with ten men.
As the game drew to its hectic conclusion, Hitchcox produced a moment of brilliance.
The Leigh Centurions loanee broke brilliantly off a scrum, and danced his way under the posts to cap off a much needed win for Rochdale.
Hornets will be looking to back this victory up on Saturday when they face a tough test, away at North Wales Crusaders (5:30pm kick-off).
Hornets: Hitchcox, Nixon, Brewin, O’Keefe, Tyrer, McNally, Green; Moimoi, Roden, Rogers, Whitehead, Forster, Aspey.
Interchanges: Taira, Killan, Rush, Thomas.
Tries: Moimoi (16’), Tyrer (24’, 58’), Nixon (35’, 66’), Whitehead (39’), Hitchcox (77’)
Goals: O’Keefe 1/3, Green 0/1, Rush 1/2, Roden 1/1.
Cornwall: Aaronson, Myers, Ashton, Jones-Bishop, Nichol, Purcell, Rusling; Bodman, Connolly, Ray, Cullen, Odgers, Collinson.
Interchanges: Beer, Bolger, Singleton, Howe.
Tries: Myers (13’), Ray (31’)
Goals: Rusling, 3/3
Half time: 18-14
Referee: Cameron Worsley
Image by JMSportPix.