Raging Bull Cup 2nd Round
Broughton Park 2’s 0 Hoppers 2’s 49
Hoppers eased into the Raging Bull Cup quarter-finals with a relatively straightforward victory over a spirited Broughton Park side.
Hoppers defied a fierce wind, rain and boggy conditions to dominate their hosts from start to finish. Additionally they were forced to overcome the late withdrawal of Jon Wells who has injured his arm whilst winger Chris Todd suffered a back spasm in the warm up.
Credit should be given to Park as they never gave in but they were restricted to a handful of skirmishes into the Hoppers half. Mike Lough’s men controlled the set-piece, dominated the breakdown and did their best to play some attacking rugby.
Hoppers handed first starts of the season to young Colts Lewis Allen, Ben Jackson and Sam Gale. All three acquitted themselves well. Jackson carried strongly, Gale grabbed a try and Allen regularly pegged the home side back with some impressive kicking from hand.
Mark Irving who enjoyed a fine game in the tight opened the scoring after some strong forward play whilst Doug Grimes doubled Hoppers’ lead with a fine try which followed a set scrum. Dan Fletcher then got in on the act after the referee had previously disallowed what seemed to be a valid effort from the young second row.
Debutant Gale then crossed the whitewash before Irish scrum-half Matt Conway burst over from the base of the scrum. The men from Lightfoot Green turned round 27-0 to the good and the sun even started to shine.
Shortly after the break the hosts failed to clear their lines and Mark Murray picked a beautiful line off Conway’s counter attack which set up a score for Russ Flynn. Conway, who was prominent throughout then scored following a well executed backs move and Hoppers were home and dry.
Russ Flynn bagged his second in typically barnstorming fashion. The Park defence had no answer to his power and strength as he scored from 30 metres out. Jonny Mahon, fresh from his first team cameo last week scored the game’s final try and Hoppers had secured a 49-0 victory.
The result was the perfect fillip following last week’s disappointing reverse. Hoppers have been rewarded with a home quarter-final tie against Caldy. The match will be played down at Lightfoot Green on February 11th. The men from Paton Field also provide this weekend’s opposition as Lough’s men travel down to the Wirral peninsula.