The late change of pitch due to the weather didn’t hamper the home side, as they ran out comfortable winners against a game Hornets side who were overpowered by a strong Luctonians outfit.

A minute’s silence before kick-off to pay homage to two former Luctonians stalwarts who passed away this week, was soon replaced by loud cheers from the appreciative home crowd.

Hornets lost their hooker Kieran Ward to a nasty injury after only 4 minutes, which probably didn’t help the away side, and Lucs were soon on the scoreboard when wing Will Hodnett raced away to touch down in the corner for the first of his brace of tries. Tom Jones, who was immaculate with his kicking throughout, converted in what were extremely difficult windy conditions to give the home side a 7-0 lead.

The home side were comfortable in possession and kept the pressure on Hornets defence, with Tom Jones’ deft kicks to touch keeping them on the back foot throughout. On 22 minutes Lucs’ line out maul was illegally brought down in their red zone by Hornets Sam Taylor who saw a yellow for his sins, with a penalty try awarded giving the home side a 14-0 lead.

Hornets’ cause wasn’t helped when centre Adam Francis also saw yellow, this for a technical infringement, and at this stage they were down to 13 players. The home side took full advantage and Ben Link added another try to his tally for the season when he crashed through from 10 metres out to add to their score before half time; Jones again adding the extras to lead 21-0 at half time.

Hornets were buzzing from the restart and reduced the score to 21-5 when Josh Sheppard broke through Lucs’ defence to put Ayden Chenoweth to score their only points.

The home side were looking every bit as good as their position in the league suggests, a top two side. They were playing with control, strength, and excellent game nous, and it was no surprise when Ben Link was driven over from another maul close-in to push the points tally up, with Jones again converting in swirling winds to 28-5. This was Ben Links’ 23rd try in 23 games, which is some achievement for a hooker.

A flash of juggling brilliance from Josh Watkins on the wing from a Lewis Parkes pass, then put Charlie Grimes away to increase their tally when he ran in the home sides 5th try, Jones again converting a very difficult kick (33-5).

Lucs didn’t take their foot off the gas, and replacement prop Mark ‘Fridge’ Roberts danced through for his first club try just after the hour mark; Jones again adding the extras for a 40-5 lead, and still with 20 minutes left on the clock.

Hornets stuck to their task well in the last quarter, only allowing Lucs one more clear opportunity, which was put to bed by Will Hodnett as he ran in his second score of the game after 67minutes. Tom Jones slotted over once again from the sidelines.

Lucs’ dominance and performance shows why they will finish second in National 2 West, as they were dominant throughout but will rue the recent losses to Clifton and Chester after losing to league winners Dings Crusaders.

Hornets coach Courtney Harris commented that they had “ been outplayed and out-muscled by a very good Luctonians outfit” who, in his view, were “the best side in the league and deserved to go up”. Lucs head coach Ryan Watkins added that he was “very pleased the side had played today to their full potential, but very disappointed that they had lost recently to other top sides”. He added, “To have achieved what we have with this group of players in rural Herefordshire is some achievement”.

Luctonians face Hinckley away next week, before their final home game vs Dudley Kingswinford on 27th April, to bring their excellent season to a close.

Star Man
Tom Jones

On our Facebook Page you can check out the live scoreline with goal line videos of all the Lucs tries. You can also view a selection of match pictures HERE.

All pictures credits: Josh Thomas, The Rugby Paper.

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