Hoppers 2nd XV 79-0 Chester 2nd XV
The second team went some way to erasing the memory of last week’s frustrating loss to Macclesfield with a ruthless demolition of Chester. Few could have predicted the scoreline as the visitors had acquitted themselves well this season.
Hoppers played some of their best attacking rugby of the season, combining excellent retention and exciting interplay between forwards and backs. The spectators were also treated to Jacob Browne’s full debut. Chester could not live with the young Colt’s searing pace and he scored twice whilst setting up another. Browne opened the scoring on fifteen minutes, outpacing the defence and scoring on the left.
Two minutes later it was 12-0 as a huge Hoppers scrum led to a penalty try. The home forwards were well on top and inspirational hooker Al Holmes touched down after a leg sapping driving maul in the right corner.
Shortly after the Chester prop left the field and the visitors lack of resources meant that the set scrums would be diluted for the remainder of the game. This can often stymie a team just as they begin to dominate the game but unlike their game with Sale a fortnight ago, Young’s men maintained the momentum.
Jack Walker made it 22-0 after some strong work by the tireless Tom Hurst and a matter of minutes later Browne set up Rhodes-Powers for a fine team try. Ward was struggling with his conversions but slotted over a well struck penalty on the stroke of half time.
Young’s men led 30-0 at the break and they started the second stanza strongly. Marshall went close but was adjudged to have stepped into touch. However It was not long until Kane Bevan, playing at scrum half, sniped over from the base of a ruck for a converted try.
Rhodes-Powers was next on the scoresheet, this time the assist came from Holmes. Ward added another conversion and the young stand off enjoyed far more success kicking towards Preston.
Some fine interplay and handling resulted in a score for Clitheroe and Hoppers were scoring almost at will. Chester fought gamely but had no answer to the pace and power of the home side. Young’s men scored straight from the kick off, attacking down the left side with Yates rounding things off.
58-0 soon became 65-0 as Cam Robinson showed lovely footwork and a delightful change of pace to score on the left corner. They weren’t finished though as Browne, who was named man of the match, finished off a lovely team try. Ward again provided the extras and the young stand-off then produced an intelligent cross field kick for Clitheroe to grab the game’s final score.
Not only did the result see Hoppers replace Sedgley Tigers at the summit of Conference A but it provided the perfect fillip before Saturday’s crunch clash with the auld enemy, Fylde.