LSH 2nd XV 7 Hoppers 2nd XV 39
Hoppers moved to the top of the Bateman Premier League with a comfortable but hard fought victory over their counterparts from Liverpool St Helens. The opening three minutes saw Young’s men produce fireworks which Guy Fawkes would have been proud of twenty-four hours earlier as they raced into a ten point lead. Andy Napier, who produced another fine performance, collected Lewis Allen’s kick off and drove down the left hand side. Centre Ian Sibbit then crashed up the middle, before off-loading to Harry Reddick which resulted in quick ball for Allen, who spun the ball wide to Pollock who scorched over with his first touch.
The young winger repeated the feat just a minute later as Hoppers rucked quickly from the resultant kick off. Mark Murray broke the line and sent a pinpoint kick towards the try line. Pollock won the foot race and although Allen missed the resultant conversion, Hoppers were well on top whilst their hosts were left looking shell shocked.
Hoppers remained on top although their eagerness to force the turnover saw them on the wrong end of the penalty count. Preston could have few complaints though as the referee’s firmness was fair to both sets of players.
Young’s men stretched their lead to seventeen points following a set scrum on the St Helens twenty-two. Quick hands saw Yates, who replaced the injured Sibbit seconds earlier, score a converted try with his first touch. Flanker Killian Wallace, who produced another eye-catching performance, went close but was held up. However the resultant scrum saw Sam Gale pick from the base and crash over for a converted score. Hoppers led 24-0 and on the stroke of half-time Allen cooly slotted a penalty which meant LSH needed four converted tries to take the lead.
The second half was more of an arm wrestle as the LSH pack sought to avoid what could easily have turned into a real hammering. The hosts put Hoppers under some early pressure but Napier and Reddick broke from their own twenty two which led to Allen sprinting down the left touch line to score in the corner. Man of the match Pollock then grabbed his hat trick as Hoppers again went the length of the field to score. LSH were camped in the Hoppers five metre line and looked certain to score in the right corner, but Pollock who had just switched wings, gambled and intercepted what would have been a try-scoring pass to sprint home.
Preston led 39-0 and it seemed to be a matter of how many points they could rack up. LSH to their credit kept knocking at the door and seemed determined not to be totally embarrassed. Their efforts were rewarded and after some powerful work they crashed over near the posts for a converted score.
Hoppers tried valiantly to add to their tally but the game became a stop-start affair, and by the end of the evening Young’s charges had given away in excess of twenty penalties. They spent much of the final quarter camped in the LSH twenty-two and Mabaya went close although he appeared to be spear tackled just short of the line. The hosts managed to clear their lines and as they searched for another consolation Anthony Elliott was adjudged to have performed a dangerous tackle and was shown a yellow card. The game drifted to its conclusion and Hoppers had returned to the top of the league.
Last night’s performance, particularly in the first half, was much improved and probably the best they have played since demolishing Fylde at the Woodlands. Hoppers were complimented by LSH’s decision to field a number of first team players and this made for a better contest. After so many mismatches in recent weeks, last night’s game was ideal preparation for the top of the table clash with Caldy on November 17th. The seconds can rest this weekend as they have a bye in the first round of the Raging Bull Cup. They shall return refreshed to training next week eagerly looking forward to that game with the men from Paton Field.