Lymm 2’s 8 Hoppers 2’s 61
The second team remain unbeaten after outscoring their hosts by nine tries to one. They overcame blustery conditions and some dogged resistance from the home side. Lymm appeared to cast aside any attacking ambition, preferring, to focus on how they could stop Hoppers gaining any momentum of their own. At times their spoiling tactics, particularly at the ruck area, went unpunished by the referee although Hoppers should have been more ruthless at the breakdown.
Connor Murphy, opened the scoring after six minutes and his try was converted by Edwards. The stand-off went on to land 8 of his 9 conversions which, given the conditions was an outstanding return. Centre Alan Haworth added a second before a Lymm penalty saw the away side leading 14-3. Will Keenan scored Hoppers’ third before Murphy scored his second following some excellent work by man of the match Gale, debutant Alan Holmes and the returining Greg Horsfall.
Haworth scored his second despite suffering from a painful shoulder after Hoppers turned over a Lymm scrummage. The Hoppers set piece again functioned well depsite the troublesome conditions and the number of changes enforced upon Mike Lough from last week. The key to Hoppers victory was their ball retention as they would invariably create opportunities once they reached their third or fourth phase of play.
With the score at 35-3 to the visitors, Murphy went over to complete his third hat-trick of the season. The number 8 has now scored 11 tries since his debut at Broughton Park and his ability to cross the gain line offers his side a valuable platform. Holmes then powered through from about 20 metres as Hoppers maintained their dominance. The hooker’s strong running and impressive handling was a feature throughout his debut.
Hoppers then went to sleep at the restart, allowing Lymm to score a try in the corner. However they responded immediately with a try from Anthony Elliott. The score came after what seemed to be an impossible turnover by Rich Morton. He appeared to pick up a member of the opposition and strip the ball in one motion before putting the young winger in with a fine over the head pass. Morton’s efforts were rewarded as he got the final score of the match following fine work by the Hoppers forwards. At the final whistle Hoppers were bouyed by the news from Lightfoot Lane. The unity amongst the squad is testimony to the character of the players and the work that the coaching staff have done over recent months.
Next week the second team travel to unbeaten Stockport in what will represent their toughest fixture of the season. Stockport lie in third place and Hoppers will remember the drubbing they received the last time they travelled down the M60. A big week of training lies ahead for Lough’s men and he will hope to have a full strength sqaud to choose from.