Hoppers U16s 21 Blackburn U16s 0
Blacksticks Blue Cup
Sunday 25th January saw a local derby against local rivals and fierce competitors Blackburn. The last fixture of the cup group had thrown up a winner takes all game as the vagaries of the point system had left the table very tight and both teams knew that victory would mean qualification to the knockout stage of this years cup competition. Games between these two sides have always been hard fought and this game proved no exception.
Hoppers started strongly creating a number of strong attacking opportunities but an uncharacteristic lack of clinical finishing meant several clear chances to score were squandered. Eventually after a period of prolonged pressure Hoppers managed to press home their advantage and score through Laurence Cheetham, added to with a well taken kick for a 7-0 lead.
Undeterred Blackburn regrouped and started to build pressure through their forwards which took play close to the Hoppers line and required a period of resolute defending to deny Blackburn. Hoppers managed to clear their lines and regained some element of control through the remaining time in the first half which saw no further score.
With the second half underway Matt Hayes-Danson scored a superb try as a fitting way to celebrate his 16th Birthday and a second successful kick saw a 14-0 lead. No fixture against this Blackburn side is ever over as a contest until the final whistle as, although Hoppers were carrying much of the the attacking threat, Blackburn never gave up and further enhanced their well earned reputation as a team that is incredibly hard to beat.
A second try from the birthday boy and a further 2 points again secured from the reliable boot of Matt Sturgess concluded the scoring and the match finished with a well earned 21-0 win the final score. Ending the day with two tries and a broken nose will certainly give Matt Hayes -Danson a birthday to remember. Hoppers were jubilant to have progressed into the cup knock out stages for the fourth consecutive year and Blackburn demonstrated a strength and resilience that makes them nailed on favourites to win the Plate for a second successive year.