Fumbles prove costly for Hornets

A FIRST-half case of the fumbles proved costly for the Cudgen Hornets when they opened their 2009 Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League campaign against the Grafton Ghosts at Ned Byrne Field, Kingscliff on Friday evening.

The Ghosts, grand finalists last year, ran out winners 18-14 but had to withstand a concerted second-half charge by the home team which almost got them the points.

“We simply had too many turn- overs in the first half,” Hornets coach Con Theodossiou said.

“We weren't able to build any pressure on them, particularly in attack, and that meant we had to do a lot of tackling.

“Despite that, we were right in the game for the first 30 minutes and it wasn't until they scored an 80m intercept try before Grafton were able to get on the board.”

Theodossiou said another try right on half time gave the visitors a 12-0 lead and when they scored first in the second half, the Ghosts were out to 18-0 and looked to have the match in control.

However, the Hornets must have taken heed of Theodossiou's instructions at half time “to hold on to the ball” and it paid off with three second half tries to full-back Shannon Murphy, centre Joe Prichard and winger Adam Evans while half-back Dan Woods could only land one from three conversions.

“I consider Grafton to be one of the benchmarks of this competition and despite our poor performance in the first half, we managed to out-score them in the second half and that was encouraging,” Theodossiou said.

“There's plenty to work with there and if we can learn to control the ball better, I'm sure we will be competitive.”

For Cudgen five eighth Tayne Mulheron, hooker Ben Matthews and prop Sean Pinder had strong games.

It proved to an afternoon of near misses for the Hornets who also went down in the under-18s and the reserve grade.

After leading for most of the match, the reserves were defeated 20-18.

Cudgen's next assignment will be a Tweed derby match with Theodossiou going up against his former club, the Murwillumbah Mustangs at Ned Byrne Field Saturday night.

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