National Three South West
Hornets 20, Brixham 22
In the past two seasons Brixham have snatched dramatic last-minute victories at Hornets.
On the new, RFU-funded, artificial pitch at ‘the Nest’, the homesters were clearly not wanting a repeat performance. Three yellow cards during the game were unhelpful to the Brixham cause.
In the opening 30 minutes Brixham were outplayed by the hosts, who had built up a 15-point lead with three unconverted tries.
Having already missed one glorious chance when the ball was dropped over the line, Hornets had to wait till the 15th minute for the opening score. After a series of scrums close to the try line, one of their locks was propelled over close to the posts. The conversion should have been straightforward but Brixham centre Tom McLean had other ideas and charged it down.
Neither the second try, just over five minutes later, nor the third, on the 30-minute mark, were converted.
Brixham needed to wake up, and did. For the first time they had possession in the Hornets 22 and after more than a dozen phases of play were rewarded with a penalty. Outside-half Ed Barnes slotted it to get the Fishermen on the scoreboard.
From the restart Brixham were straight back on the attack and after again going through a series of phases number eight Sam Thomas went over for a try; Barnes added the extras.
Again Brixham were on the offensive from the restart. More phases and Brixham were close to scoring in the left corner. The ball went out across the park and centre Elliot Bryers was brought down just short; full-back Tom Goodman in support at pace dived over the line. Barnes converted, Brixham led 17-15 and it was half-time.
In the second period Brixham started by taking the ball to their hosts but could find no way through the defences.
Hornets rode the opening storm and within 10 minutes had reclaimed the lead with their fourth, unconverted, try.
A long period when Brixham dominated possession – despite having a man in the bin – finally ended when McLean went over for a try. The conversion was missed off the post but the Fishermen had regained the lead.
The final stages saw both teams having periods of pressure but unable to get through.
Brixham were down to 14 again but were in search of a fourth try and attacking bonus point – Hornets were looking for the win.
For much of the time the former looked more likely, but neither happened.