PGRFC 4th XV
Cup Final v Warrington RUFC 3rd XV
Saturday 3 May 2014
This was a characterful performance against a larger side and despite being 24 points down at one point Hoppers came back to within one score by full time.
Hoppers started encouragingly with early play being in Warrington’s half and the pressure led to them conceding a penalty duly converted by Ellery Hodson. Unfortunately this was the highlight of the first 35 minutes as a period of Warrington dominance followed. Their first try followed a cross field kick and despite being in the corner was converted. Three further tries followed all of them being characterised by the large Warrington pack trundling over the line despite Hopper’s best efforts. Only one was converted but a penalty was conceded in this period leaving the score at 3-27.
With 7 minutes of the first half to go Hoppers finally got back into Warrington’s 22 and scored a classic catch and drive try from a 10 yard lineout with Richie Sands touching down. The conversion failed and to compound matters Hoppers were penalised for going off their feet with only a minute of the half to go and Warrington made the half time score 8-30.
Something must have been said or drunk at half time as Hoppers came out a re-juvenated side. After early pressure a try in broken play ensued by James Meades and this was converted by Tom Lyth. Hoppers then had to show they had learnt to defend and despite Warrington’s repeated attempts to trundle and replicate their first half successes they were kept out.
On 20 minutes the Warrington open side flanker was yellow carded for a knee in the back and Hoppers made them pay within 2 minutes. Adopting Warrington’s tactics Bob Leggatt had a powerful trundle down the middle of the field and after some recycling a try resulted for Adam Catterall. This was duly converted leaving the score at 22-30 and an unlikely victory seemed possible. However, Hoppers cause wasn’t helped when they conceded a penalty for a neck high tackle and Warrington took the points.
While Hoppers continued to dominate Warrington remained lively and it was only a great tackle on the line from Alex Taylorson when the Warrington fans were already celebrating a try that prevented a score. Hoppers became increasingly frenetic and it has to be said over enthusiasm saw a couple of chances go begging. They were rewarded by Andy Horrocks un-converted try on 37 minutes following a kick chase but despite Hoppers’ valiant efforts in the final minutes Warrington managed to run the clock down to take the game 27-33.
Report and photographs by Martin Hothersall.
A full range of photos can be seen in the gallery below.