Hoppers 2nd XV 36-7 Sale FC 2nd XV
The second team secured third place in the Bateman Premier League with victory against a spirited Sale side at Lightfoot Green. Hoppers huffed and puffed for much of the first half but a much improved second display sees them enter next weekend’s cup final with renewed confidence.
The opening exchanges saw Sale bely their league position and exert a fair amount of pressure. Hoppers looked like they had broken the shackles but with Sale looking suspiciously offside in midfield they spilled the ball. The home side reacted slowly and Sale broke down the right to score in the corner.
Young’s men improved somewhat and the visitors transgressed close to their own line. Hoppers regrouped and skipper Richard Wardell scored. The match was level but a Ward penalty saw the blue and whites lead at the break.
The returning Kane Bevan made a fine break before offloading to Proctor who beat a number of would be tacklers to score. The extras were missed but Preston led 15-7.
Proctor was again involved after some good work by Lightfoot. This time it was Clitheroe who crossed the whitewash. Ward made no mistake and Hoppers were starting to show some form.
Hoppers’ centres Berry and Bevan were at the heart of the next score but it was young scrum half Andy Hulme who finished things off. Ward added two more points and Hoppers were now 29-7 to the good.
Credit to the visitors who seemed intent on grabbing a consolation. The men from Heywood Road were camped on the Hoppers line. However they knocked on and Proctor embarked on a mazy sixty yard carry before offloading to Ward who rounded things off, converting his own try.
Hoppers will be pleased with their second half performance and will focus on next week’s encounter with Vale of Lune down at Sandbach. Young’s men will be frustrated with a third place finish in the league as the season promised so much. However if they can win the cup for the first time since 2013 they can enjoy their summer.