2nd XV Champions!

Date: 06 May 2013

Raging Bull Cup Final

Preston Grasshoppers 2nd XV 20 Caldy 2nd XV 16

2nd XV pre-game

The second team may have narrowly missed out on retaining the Bateman Premier League but their disappointment was short lived as they won the Raging Bull Cup for the first time since 2006. Whilst the match lacked attacking flair it was a tense and physical encounter which gave those present a nerve wracking spectacle on a sunny Wilmslow afternoon.

For long periods it looked as though Hoppers might miss out as Caldy threw the kitchen sink at the blue and whites but the Preston defence weathered the storm whilst maintaining dominance at the set piece, in particular the scrum.

Preston started the better but Caldy opened the scoring after their elusive winger exploited some sloppy defence to get on the end of a grubber kick and score on the left. Young’s men reasserted themselves and a Flynn penalty reduced the arrears to 3-5 in Caldy’s favour. Ten minutes later Hoppers were 10-5 ahead when young Luke Proctor crashed over for a fine try which club stalwart Flynn converted. However some sloppy Preston play saw Caldy win a penalty which they stand-off slotted over.

The men from Paton Field were giving it everything and looked certain to retake the lead but inexplicably dropped the ball in the act of scoring. Hoppers led 10-8 at half time but Caldy would have both the wind and a slight gradient in their favour so it would take a supreme effort to make sure that the cup travelled to Lightfoot Green.

Young’s men found themselves under more sustained pressure as the second period began but their defence held firm. Their cause wasn’t helped though as they looked to run the ball out of defence and a number of nervous looking Hoppers went for some crazy offloads when cool heads were called for.

With 20 minutes left Caldy took a 13-10 lead as they counter attacked from distance. Preston were, if truth be told, guilty of some un-characteristically slack defence but the missed conversion sweetened the blow. Just four minutes later that man Flynn tied the scores with a sweetly struck penalty and it looked as though extra-time was looming.

Five minutes later Preston gave away a daft penalty for pulling down a line out, the Caldy kicker made no mistake and it looked like Hoppers would end a fine season without any reward. Young shuffled his pack with Richie Sands having a huge influence on proceedings whilst Sean Jackson’s opposite number will still be having nightmares about the last three scrummages of the afternoon.

Preston realised they were up against it and Fletcher called for one final effort from his men. Crucially a number of the Caldy forwards began to tire and Hoppers were camped on their opponents’ line. The upshot being a five metre scrum which the Preston front row walked over the line allowing Proctor to grab his second score of the day. Flynn then added a tricky looking conversion meaning that he and Proctor had ten points apiece.

Hoppers were 20-16 to the good and Caldy needed at least a try to win it but with at last five minutes remaining they had plenty of time to do so. Then men from Cheshire put up one last valiant effort but their possession lacked penetration and Hoppers were able to turn the ball over and weather the storm.

Credit to Caldy, they were gallant opponents who should be praised for the humility with which they conducted themselves at the final whistle. Additionally everybody involved in the Hoppers group extend their thanks to Wilmslow RFC who staged the finals day superbly.

The cup victory was a just reward for another outstanding season which statistically was better than their title winning campaign. Furthermore their record of 25 matches, 23 wins and 2 defeats bettered that of eventual champions Macclesfield. However, by virtue of the league rules Hoppers missed out and congratulations go to our friends at Priory Lane. Young’s men were also unbeaten away from home, averaging over forty points per match whilst their robust defence saw them concede fewer than twelve points a game. Meanwhile in March the team won Senior Performance of the Year at the Preston Sports Awards.

2nd XV champions

Well done to those involved on Saturday and whilst the lads will enjoy their rest, planning for next season has already begun and the second team will be looking to maintain their dominance over the other clubs in the North West.


Back to Club News