Preston Grasshoppers 20-22 South Leicester
Preston Grasshoppers succumbed to their seventh defeat in nine games courtesy of a late try from replacement Jacob Heath which earned South Leicester their first win in four matches.
Despite five Lewis Allen penalties, the hosts could only come away with a losing bonus point.
Hoppers head coach Garth Dew was frustrated with the number of mistakes his team made.
He said: “The amount of unforced, sloppy errors that invited pressure onto us just wasn’t good enough. We will start asking some serious questions in the week and take a different approach during training.
“We kept getting back into the game and played some good rugby at times, but the lads have to take some accountability for their own performances. Every time South came in our twenty-two they scored points, but we weren’t as clinical.
“Every restart we invited pressure back onto ourselves with sloppy hands, and things like this are the fundamentals of rugby. If you don’t get them right, you’ll keep losing. These same errors hurt us last Saturday against Tynedale and we’ll make the lads work hard to change things in training.”
Hoppers made their intentions known early in the contest: opting to play an expansive handling game despite the adverse conditions.
This made for a rather scrappy first-quarter, with dropped balls and knock-ons aplenty.
South opted for a forward orientated game, and their approach paid dividends after 14 minutes.
Flanker Nick Cairns touched down out wide to give the visitors a 5-0 lead, with Rickie Aley missing the conversion.
Aley then bagged a try himself six minutes later, running a hard supporting line off a Gareth Turner pickup to ghost past a poor Hoppers defence.
The hosts gained their first three points via Allen’s boot, and were playing some good rugby but lacked that clinical end product.
Hoppers tight-head Pete Altham crashed over from a driving maul, but Allen failed to slot his conversion, which meant South took a slender 8-10 advantage into the break.
Allen kicked two more penalties to give Hoppers a 14-10 lead, but South soon had their noses in front again.
Their pack performed much better in the second-quarter, and from the base of a scrum Turner crossed the white wash, with Aley converting.
Six more points from Allen put Hoppers 20-17 ahead. However, the home side could not hang on for a vital victory.
The impressive Aley broke the gain line, and Heath ran an excellent outside line to dot down in the corner with four minutes remaining.
Hoppers had a chance to win the game, but Allen’s monstrous penalty drifted wide in what proved to be another disappointing afternoon for the hosts.
Hoppers: Viney; Trueman, Crosley, Woof, Robinson; Allen, Harrison; Mabaya, Mills, Altham, Garrod, Murray, Bramhall, Lees, Proctor.
Replacements: Beaty, Burns, Roddy, Hunt, Hurst.
South: Gunn; Clarke, Hough, Priestner, Howe; Aley, Shaw; McNaughton, Johnson, Holford, Wolfenden, Cheney, McLaurin, Cairns, Turner.
Replacements: Heath, Warren, Ager, Murray, Ward.
Report By Henry Woodsford