Hoppers 2nd XV 44 Fylde Hawks 19
On a fantastic weekend for everybody at the Green the second team secured a resounding and thoroughly deserved victory over a much vaunted and previously free-scoring Fylde side.
A healthy crowd flocked to Lightfoot Green and witnessed Young’s men produce their finest performance of the season. The first half hour was particularly impressive and whilst their concentration lapsed, the young Hoppers side retained enough control to ensure that local bragging rights were secured.
The first ten minutes were scoreless but Hoppers dominated both territory and possession whilst their aggressive defence ensured that Fylde were unable to launch any of their famous attacking rugby. Sam Kendall, who enjoyed a fine game, opened the scoring with a well taken penalty from forty metres out.
Just two minutes later Murray’s bomb caused panic in the Fylde defence. Hoppers swarmed all over the the visitors and Sam Gale touched down.
Hoppers kept their foot on the pedal and forced Fylde back towards their twenty two. The Hawks backs made a costly error as Rhodes-Powers intercepted and scooted through to score. Kendall’s conversion was good and Preston led 15-0.
Kendall continued to have an impact, his huge tackle on Fylde’s free-scoring Fijian in addition to Mabaya’s foraging forced a penalty. The effort went wide but Fylde were struggling to venture out of their own half. Proctor then went close for the hosts but the Hawks repelled the danger.
However a few moments later Hoppers were rewarded as Murray’s grubba kick presented Elliott with a straightforward touchdown. Kendall added the extra two and the home side led 22-0.
Elliott soon grabbed his second as he forced his way through a host of Fylde defenders. Kendall’s conversion was simple and Hoppers already seemed to have a decisive lead.
Fylde managed to force some pressure as the first stanza came to an end. However a forward pass saw their attempts thwarted. They managed to stay in Hoppers territory though and scored in the left corner. Young’s men led 29-5 at the break and Hoppers could be well satisfied with their efforts.
Preston started the half the better as another smart kick from Murray upset the Fylde defence. Elliott was on hand to grab his third and he enjoyed an excellent all round game, playing in what was, an unfamiliar centre role. Tom Peterson slotted an excellent conversion and Hoppers led 36-5.
The next period was somewhat scrappy as Fylde did their best to try and salvage some pride from the fixture. Murray was sent to the sin bin for a high tackle although in hindsight the decision could have gone either way. A mass melee followed and in all honesty at least two visiting players were fortunate not to follow Murray to the cooler.
Hoppers lost their way a little and their ill-discipline was costly, the Hawks managed to force an unconverted score. Young’s men went close to adding to their tally as Peterson missed with a penalty and then Gale knocked on in the act of scoring.
Reddick then went close but the returning Murray barged his way through the Hawks line for an unconverted score. Fylde then hit back with a consolation score although the Hoppers backs felt there was a block which the referee failed to see.
The last action of the game was a penalty for Peterson as Fylde were penalised at the breakdown. Hoppers saw out the game comfortably and could be well pleased with their efforts.