Ormskirk U16s 5 Hoppers U16s 31
Sunday 8th Feb
This Sunday saw PGRFC U16s visiting Ormskirk who had kindly stepped in at short notice to offer us a game as part of a weekend of celebrations to mark the opening of their newly refurbished club house. Having met earlier in the season in the group stages of the Lancashire cup after a promising runaway start by Hoppers, a spirited Ormskirk side regrouped and came back strongly through well organised and committed forward play to make the fixture a much closer affair and keep Hopppers honest.
Visiting Ormskirk on a cold foggy February morning for a friendly fixture was never going to be a walk in the park and Ormskirk started strongly and looked both determined and organised. Hoppers for the all the world looked to be enjoying a Sunday lie in rather than the physicality of a West Lancs away game and were uncharacteristically slow starting. Hoppers were punished after a period of pressure by Ormskirk aided and abetted by the reduced visibility conditions which saw them take the initiative after a bouncing and fumbled ball was hacked ahead and grounded for the first try. Conversion missed. Going behind should have been the wake up call but Ormskirk were never going to surrender the lead without a battle and a well taken try from winger Josh Rawlinson was as much as Hoppers could manage before the half time whistle brought play to a halt with the scores at 5-5. A fair reflection of the first half where Hoppers had struggled to match the intensity of their hosts but had showed glimpses of attacking threat.
I suspect the Hoppers coaches might have offered a calm assessment of the first half performance and perhaps made tentative enquiries about whether a little more urgency, commitment and finesse were perhaps needed. Suffice to say the second half saw a far more cohesive and urgent performance with some periods of committed team work, great running rugby, passing and finishing. Josh secured a creditable hat trick in a second half where Hoppers scored 26 unanswered points in a performance that couldn’t have been more different from the lack lustre first half and far more in keeping with the play that this team aspires to, well done!
Thanks to Ormskirk for their hospitality and good luck in their cup play off game next week, the promise of a Cup quarter final against local rivals Waterloo will no doubt provide a huge motivation.