Altricham & Kersal 2nd XV 3-85 Hoppers 3rd XV
They say attack is the best form of defence… There’s definitely occasions when writing a match report is not a relishing prospect. High scoring games, for instance, make it difficult to remember what actually happened. Or when you come off injured after 10 mins having contributed nothing but a crap pass and a knock on and spend the first half in the shower. Or worse, when they move a prop out to your position who’s quicker than you, has better hands and systematically sets about dismantling a weakened Altrincham side!
So here goes; Hoppers turned up on a cold frosty afternoon to the pleasant surroundings of Altrincham & Kersal who find themselves struggling at the foot of Standish Media Services Division 1. With Crewe in action against Wirral, Hoppers had a chance to boost their promotion credentials and claim 3 spot if results went their way.
It wasn’t long before word spread through the Hoppers camp that Altrincham only had 14 men. Even so, Hoppers could not afford to be complacent. It was clear from the kick off that this was going to be a long day for Altrincham and nevertheless their heads did not drop. From the off, Hoppers were looking to press home the extra man advantage. The forwards doing all the good stuff as usual but slightly uncharacteristically the backs were guilty of forcing the play, perhaps due to not training together for a few weeks. As a result, it wasn’t looking quite as fluid as in previous weeks.
Altrincham’s cause wasn’t helped when they lost another man going down to 13. Rick Barnes kindly made way to the subs bench to keep the one man advantage, a sporting gesture (possibly also in the rules anyway). It didn’t take long for Hoppers to open the scoring, Jamie Best crossing the line from the back of a rolling maul. From the kick off Hoppers were back on the attack. From a lineout, led by the talismanic Steel, Hoppers set up another one of their fine driving mauls. Duncan Brown breaking away to ground the ball. Shakes was making good inroads into the Altrincham half barrelling off would be tacklers and making a couple of good breaks. The sheer pace of the big man was too much for Taylor who trying to keep up with him suffered a thigh strain. Rick returned to the fray and the show went on.
By now Altrincham were on the ropes, missed tackles were punishing the home team severely and each time the spritely bunch of Horrocks, Procter and Barnes were eating up the yards. Altrincham were temporarily buoyed by the return of some of their 3rd team players whose game had been called off. Back up to 15 a side, Hoppers were able to introduce Ryan Fish at prop with Adam Saleh moving to 13. However there was no sign of a resurgence and the proverbial writing on the wall had already been written. Hoppers scrum was decimating any attempt the home side had at the set piece. Mollinga stepped his way under the posts, Best and Procter also crossed the line before half time to make it 42-0.
Whilst the first half was probably lacking in detail, fear not as fresh from my early bath draining all the hot water I was able to make some proper match report notes, the most useful thing I did all day.
With Ringrose and Hardman now on, the second half began as it left off with Hoppers in full ascendancy. Hardman was straight into the thick of the action, clearing up lineout ball, he spotted a gap before swatting off around 5 AK defenders to score a fine individual effort. The subsequent celebration earned him the coveted Div of the Day award. Another one doing some damage was Copper, when he wasn’t bullying the opposition defence he was busy wrecking any chance of opposition ball. Anyway that’s enough Mr nice guy.
Another Shakes break in midfield released Procter who drew the last defender and threw a wonderfully terrible pass which somehow Barnes managed to pick up off his ankles and bundle over the line. Meanwhile Terrible Terry was running some beautiful lines which, had he managed to catch the ball on any of the other nine attempts would have undoubtedly increased the scoring further.
Ryan Fish was also making hard yards in and around the breakdown, each time it seemed like he might score the try of a props lifetime the big man’s tilt sensor brought him crashing back to earth. A sexy backs move from Peterson put Shakes in for a fine try. With all the subs tied up running to and from the posts and bringing water on for the lads Peterson was getting irate with the poor kicking tee service. During this time he had successfully stroked over a couple of fine conversions from the floor. The subs upped their game and he got his tee back before shanking the next 2 conversions.
Lambert was next to score, finishing well in the corner after a strong run, doing a fine Lomu tribute earning him the nickname Jonah Lambo. A lovely miss pass from Adam Saleh (the less said about him the better, he’s not a real prop anyway and I didn’t see him make any tackles!!) put Horrocks in again for another well worked try. Another crap miss pass released Procter in for his second of the match. It wasn’t long before he completed his hatrick, this time in the criminal act of not giving a two on one! Even so the AK full back was unable to get his man.
A final score of 85-3 with prop Duncan Brown picking up the MoTM award. It was another good performance from Hoppers who weren’t distracted by the endless amounts of space on the pitch and continued to play structured rugby which was a real positive. We are now 3rd in the league after 7 wins in a row. Keep going lads.
Match report by Ben Taylor.