3rd & 5th XV Match Reports

Date: 16 November 2017

Here are the reports from the latest fixtures for the 3rd and 5th XVs.

Preston Grasshoppers 5ths 51-10 Burnley 3rds

Hoppers 5ths hosted Burnley 3rds on a chilly afternoon at Lightfoot Green. After the early season fixture, away at Burnley ended in a draw, Hoppers were keen to get a win on home turf.

Burnley arrived at The Green with only 11 players with 1 en-route, Captain Mick Mortimer making the decision to loan 3 players to Burnley for kick off. This protected the spirit of the game, particularly the strong relationship between the two clubs as Burnley had done us the same favour last season.

With a 15 v 14 for kick off, Hoppers were clearly expecting an easy afternoon, but after 10 minutes of breathless defending on their own line against the 14 men, showed that the Hoppers the error in their assumptions.

Burnley’s large forward pack were giving Mick Mortimer’s front 8 a tough day’s work and were unlucky in missing a couple of penalty kick attempts which kept the score at 0-0.

With the ball now in hand Hoppers started to make metres up the pitch. Solid running from prop/winger/twinkle toes Will Douglas and with the centre partnership of Chris Jenkins and Danny Whalley stretching the Burnley back line (coupled with uncommunicated spontaneous kicking into space (as seems to be the norm these days) from fullback Ben Markland and Fly Half Thomas ‘DJ’ Davies) soon resulted in points on the board for the home side.

Even with the arrival of Burnley’s 15th man, once Hoppers had realised they needed to apply themselves if they wanted to win, the points continued to flow. Everyone’s favourite well-mannered gentleman Tinny continuing his prolific try scoring with a hat-trick throughout the day.  Scrum half Joel also getting a brace before an injury cut his day short.

Burnley fought back in the second half with a couple of tries to please their travelling coach. Ultimately the subs and back line made the difference for Hoppers.  More tries from Chris, Will D and Lee C putting an end to the day.

A big thanks to the players who pulled on a shirt for Burnley and those lads who turned up and volunteered to be loaned out to the 6th team who were short of subs.  All round a great positive for social rugby at the club.

DOD – Thomas “DJ” Davies – mainly for his new haircut amongst game related incidents.

MOM – Chris Jenkins for a massive contribution to both attacking and defending.


Free flowing Hops overcome by 1 dimensional Dale

Hoppers 3s high on confidence following last week’s victory travelled to Rossendale who pre match sat 1 point behind Hoppers. The referee promised a free flowing game exactly what the Hoppers boys wanted. Straight from the off it was clear there was to be no free flowing game to be had at the Pits with the referee blowing for offside from the hoppers kick off instantly setting the tone for the rest of the game.

With a quick whistled ref and strong forward running from the Rossendale pack Hops found themselves defending on their own try line for the first 10minutes of the game. Despite Dale having the early dominance it was Hoppers who broke the deadlock with a rampaging run from number 9 Marius bouncing off the soft tackles from Dale to score in the corner. Conversion missed.

Dale continued to use their powerful forward runners to make minor yards up the pitch forcing penalties out of the Hoppers defence. However unable to break our defence Dale turned to the boot with the fly half slotting two penalties in front of the sticks.

At this stage the hoppers backs wondered if the Dale backs were ever going to touch the ball!

Continued 1 dimensional rugby (albeit very controlled) forced Hoppers into giving away penalties. A series of scrums and penalties led to a try for Dale which was converted. (13-5)

The next score was to Hoppers with some fine lineout work giving front foot ball and allowing Hoppers to get a grip on the game, the resulting pressure led to pack leader and birthday boy Anthony Dennison going over in the corner. Conversion was good.

Half time 13-12

Strong running in the narrow channels from the Dale forwards resulted in Hoppers once again defending on their own 5m line. Further penalties led to a string of scrums where Dale were eventually able to capitalise for a push over try from 5m out. Conversion good 20-12

The remainder of the half summed up this game, Dale keeping it tight and controlled whilst hoppers tried to spread the ball and play attractive rugby. Eventually it paid off spreading the play left then right then left again Hoppers Nick Johnson was able to get over in the corner. Conversion missed.

Unfortunately the try came too late for Hoppers to kick on to win the game with the final whistle going from the subsequent restart.

Overall some warrior defence from the Hoppers who thwarted the Dale forwards time and time again. We look forward to the home leg. Next week Hoppers face Macclesfield on the AGP, 2:15pm Kick Off, being the only game at home we’d appreciate your support!

MOM: Anthony Dennison

DOD: Declan Norrington

Would you like to play rugby for the Hoppers? We accommodate players of all ages and experiences, from new starters through to veterans looking to keep fit within an organised but fun environment. If you’re looking to start or return to the game then please contact the club by email on info@pgrfc.co.uk providing your contact details and we’ll get back to you straight away.

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