Hoppers 2nd XV 50 Burnage 2nd XV 5
The second team secured a comfortable victory against a hard working but limited Burnage side whose forwards were often overwhelmed by a dominant Hoppers pack.
Young’s men had too much pace and power for the visitors from South Manchester and Hoppers’ only gripe might be that they didn’t score more points. However the sticky conditions underfoot probably hampered the expansive style which has underpinned their recent success in the Bateman Premier League.
Alex Austin opened the scoring after some powerful scrummaging laid the platform and the first few minutes suggested that Burnage were in for a difficult afternoon. The Preston front row of Madden, Tuff & McGuinness made a real mess of another Burnage set piece and some quick thinking from Matt Conway led to the Irishman ferreting a score. Allen again added the extras and Preston were fourteen points to the good.
Sam Gale then made an impressive surge from the base of a Preston scrummage before feeding Conway who sent Pollock over for a well taken score. Young’s men led 21-0 and the points were probably secured although credit should go to the visitors as they fought gamely, doing their best to secure some sort of foothold in the game.
It was Preston’s ill discipline which led to Burnage’s only points of the match as a succession of penalties gave the visitors some much needed territory. So infrequent were Burnage’s forays into the Hoppers twenty two that the line out they won on the five metre line represented something of an oasis. The visiting forwards set up a good driving maul and Burnage, for whom Liam & Noel once played, were on the board. That was the last score of the half and the break came at a good time for Young as it gave him the chance to deliver his master plan.
Preston started the second half strongly and an Allen penalty took the score out to 24-5. Any chance that Burnage had of coming back disappeared as their number eight was shown a straight red card for a reckless rather than malicious high tackle on the young stand off. Allen dusted himself down and sent a smart cross field kick to the waiting Yates who couldn’t quite control the bouncing ball. Conway scored from the resultant scrum as the Hoppers’ pack again made life difficult for their opponents. Allen pushed the conversion wide but Preston had a healthy 29-5 lead.
Pollock then claimed his second try after some patient possession from his pack and Hoppers were starting to make the extra man count. Preston then scored the try of the match with a lovely flowing move which started in their own twenty two. Austin, Gale & Tuff were prominent before Allen rounded things off to finish under the posts. He converted his own effort and the champions were 43-5 to the good.
Substitute Cameron Berry was the catalyst for the final score of the afternoon. The kiwi, who normally operates at centre, came on in the back row and turned the ball over on the Hoppers five meter line. He made some good yards before the ball found its way to the charging Flynn who put his foot down and broke beyond half way. Preston got quick ball and Allen put the ball wide for Elliott to score a fine try which Allen again converted.
Young’s men had secured a fine 50-5 victory and the result sets them up nicely for this Friday’s trip to old rivals Sedgley Park. Friday’s hosts unusually find themselves at the foot of the table having been routed by Fylde at the start of January whilst on Saturday they suffered a heavy defeat against early leaders Macclesfield.