Macclesfield 2nd XV 26-31 Hoppers 2nd XV
The second team secured a hard fought but ultimately deserved victory against their old adversaries from Priory Lane. Hoppers showed great resolve in the face of some tenacious rugby to earn the perfect morale boost for this Friday’s fixture against the auld enemy Fylde.
It was fifteen minutes until the first score was recorded. Hoppers had the better of the possession and territory but it was the home side who struck first. The Hoppers defence fell for a dummy in midfield and Macc scored under the posts for a converted score.
Young’s men came back strongly with Reddick & Frings prominent. Macc did their best to repel the pressure but Sam Russell scooted through a gap to grab the try. Gargett converted and to use some American parlance it was a tied ball game.
Hoppers were in the lead just five minutes later as a powerful line-out drive saw man of the match Irving go close. It provided the ideal platform for Proctor to score his weekly try. Credit to the hosts who came storming back but Hoppers produced some solid exit play that was underpinned by an excellent defensive effort.
Macc opened the second stanza in strong fashion. They turned Hoppers over from the kick off, span one pass left and the winger dashed home, untouched, from forty metres. It was 14 points apiece but the Hoppers pack came storming back with some excellent offloading play. Tom Hurst wriggled over and Gargett added the extras.
Hoppers then upped the ante and were camped in the Macc 22, however they were reduced to 14 when Ben Geatches was sin-binned for what looked like some rather silly fisticuffs. Despite the numerical disadvantage they had the chance to extend their lead but Gargett’s penalty fell wide and short.
Just a few minutes later they extended their lead. Proctor drove off the base and off-loaded to Irving who sent a cute pass out the back to the excellent Russell who bagged his second. Gargett failed with the conversion but Preston led 26-14.
Young’s men were then caught playing a bit too much rugby in their own half. Macc exerted some pressure before grabbing a try on the left. The game ebbed and flowed but Hoppers’ 26-19 lead felt closer than it really was.
Irving eased the tension, scoring after Hoppers had played their way smartly out of trouble. The try coming after another excellent line out drive from the Hoppers pack.
With four minutes to go Macc ensured that a nervy finish ensued. Some ill-disciplined Hoppers play saw their hosts drive a five metre line over. The conversion made it 31-26 to Hoppers and the home side felt they had time to snatch at least a draw.
Young’s men saw out the remaining time to secure a fine victory in what was an entertaining match, well contested by two exceptionally committed sides. Macclesfield’s work at the breakdown was especially tenacious whilst Hoppers produced some excellent phases of play.