Hornets have fans buzzing
RUGBY league fans got value for money with the Cudgen Hornets prevailing 52-28 over the Grafton Rhinos in a try-scoring frenzy at Ned Byrne Field yesterday.
The Hornets scored nine tries to five in the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League round 10 clash at Kingscliff.
At one stage during the second half of the match, the scoreboard was ticking over faster than the clock with both sides capitalising on each other's mistakes.
Regardless of the score, Cudgen coach Con Theodossiou was happy to take the win which keeps his side in contention for a top five finals berth.
“It was a scrappy game in parts though I thought our first half was very good,” Theodossiou said.
“Our trouble seems to be that we don't maintain concentration for the entire game and fall into lapses which in turn costs us points.
“Still, when they scored we were able to regroup quickly and put points back on them.”
Cudgen opened the scoring when hooker Ben Matthews crossed after just three minutes for a 4-0 lead.
The game then settled down with both sides creating chances only to see them go begging due to poor final options.
The Hornets extended their lead with a try to halfback Chris Moase in the 18th minute and then five minutes later try scoring ace Shannon Murphy ran 60 metres to score.
Moase slotted the conversion to extend the lead to 16-0.
The Rhinos finally got on the board when centre Dwayne Duke made a strong burst in the 28th minute to score. His try was converted by centre Luke Worthing to close the gap to 16-6.
Ray Mercy crossed again for the visitors five minutes later to reduce the margin to 16-10 but Cudgen's centre Aaron Aitken brought the visitors' run to a halt, crossing for a converted try just before half-time to set up a 24-10 shoreline at the break.
With the second half just five minutes old, Duke was in for his second try as the Rhinos reduced the margin to eight points.
That try triggered an amazing point-scoring frenzy with Cudgen prop Brendan Robinson crossing in the 49th minute to be followed three minutes later by Murphy while five-eighth Chris Kennedy touched down four minutes later to have Cudgen up to 42-16.
Then it was the Rhinos' turn to post a double in three minutes with Mercy scoring his second in the 59th minute before fullback Joel Moss crossed in the 62nd to have the score 42-28.
The momentum then swung back to the Hornets with winger Jackson Hardy crossing in the 68th minute before Kennedy grabbed his second in the 73rd minutes to complete the 52-28 shoreline.
It was enough to keep the scorecard markers busy, the coaches wondering where their defensive drills had gone and the ball boys chasing conversions all over the place.
The Hornets now sit just one win outside the top five with Lower Clarence and Northern United joint leaders on 16 points and Mullumbimby, Grafton Ghosts and Byron Bay all on 14 points with Cudgen on 12.
The A Grade triumph capped a great day for the Hornets with their reserve grade downing the Rhinos 38-16 and the under 18s winning 34-22.
Meanwhile, confusion surrounded the match between the Tweed Coast Raiders and the Grafton Ghosts before it was eventually played in Grafton yesterday.
The match was on Friday shifted to Les Burger Field, Bogangar, after officials had deemed the Grafton ground unsuitable.
However, an 11th hour change of mind forced the Raiders to make the long road trip south for the second week in a row.
After a less-than-ideal preparation, Tweed Coast suffered one of their heaviest losses of the season, going down to the Ghosts 48-10.
It was a case of luck going with the home team who managed to post two quick tries and then never looked back.
It was better news for Tweed Coast in the lower grades with the Raiders winning reserves 22-16 and their under 18s triumphing 24-12.
In Lismore on Saturday night, an enthusiastic Marist Brothers outfit beat Murwillumbah 30-12.
Mustangs captain Brad Purtell was at a loss to explain his side's performance, crediting Marist Brothers for being “ready to play”.
“Our boys were just flat and really didn't get into the game at all," Purtell said.
“We created opportunities but just couldn't take them.
“We were down 12-6 at half time but fought back only to see them skip away with some late tries to blow the score out.
“They were the better side on the night.”
In reserve grade, Murwillumbah downed Brothers 26-14 while the Brethren took the under 18s 26-16.
In other NRRRL matches, Ballina upset Lower Clarence 38-20, Mullumbimby downed premiers Byron Bay 24-8, Evans Head surprised Casino 42-12 and Northern United edged out Kyogle 34-32.