Otago take the sting out of Hornets

Nanaimo Hornets

Story by Mike Magee (ISN) Photos by Lena-marie Pawluk (ISN)

February 12, 2013, Nanaimo, BC (ISN) – Strong performances from both teams gave fans something to cheer about as the Nanaimo Hornets took on the visiting Powell River Otago in May Bennett Park on Sunday in a NVIRU Division 3 rugby match.

Nanaimo opened the scoring early through the power of forward Zach Fitch. The Nanaimo Hornets 8th man made it look easy as he threw his weight around and dotted the ball down under the posts for the opening try. Drew Cooper would also score for the Hornets just before the half time whistle blew to help give his team a 10-0 lead at the break.

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Hornet Zack Fitch (ball carrier) put on a strong performance against Powell River – Photo by Lena-marie Pawluk (ISN)

Powell River found they were in trouble at half time, and after a chat with the coaches, the lads hit the pitch with increased speed, controlled ball movement and a certain level of finish in the 2nd half.

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Otago Defenders Leigh Burley (left) and Toni Forth (right) look to steal the ball with the tackle – Photo by Lena-marie Pawluk (ISN)

It did not take long for impact substitutions to prove effective. Fly half Toni Forth would lead the charge down field through effective passing and timely darts before he himself would go over the try line for his team’s first 5 points of the day. The try was unconverted, but the visitors were on their way with a heightened sense of play.

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Powell River Otago prop, Brodie Squire shrugs off Hornet during offensive charge in the 2nd half – Photo by Lena-marie Pawluk (ISN)

In the end Powell Rivers’ superior speed on the wings would prove to be too much for the Nanaimo Hornets, as Otago winger Leigh Burley scored with the sound of the final whistle. Kicker Joel Tait would add the conversion, thus completing the come behind victory in favor of visiting Otago 12-10.

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Fly-half Toni Forth of Powell River came off the bench to score before setting up the winning try on Sunday – Photo by Lena-marie Pawluk (ISN)

Sunday’s game in Nanaimo at May Bennett Park was the first home and home series this season in the revamped NVIRU 3rd Division.