FYLDE RFC 3RD XV 3 PGRFC 3RD XV 77
Hoppers bounced back from their first defeat of the season last week with renewed vigour and passion, inflicting a huge victory over Fylde 3rd XV on their home turf. Much of the pre-game hype in the Fylde coast based media was over the inclusion of a couple of decorated veterans, drafted in to attempt to stifle the free scoring Hoppers’ side. However, they could do little to stop the Preston back line running riot in this local derby.
Fylde had started well enough, nudging themselves in front with a penalty within the first frenetic five minutes at the Woodlands after a number of turnovers from both sides. However, they were back pedalling as soon as Hoppers launched their first concerted attack. Hard running lines in midfield and good support play allowed Hoppers to make good ground and that man Horrocks finished off a sweeping move to score in the corner. Peterson unable to convert. Soon after, Fylde found themselves back in their own twenty two and surrendered a penalty from a scrum bang in front and Peterson slotted the penalty to put Hoppers 8-3 to the good.
From the resulting kick off, Hoppers began to dominate. To add to their assurance on the ball, they added menace in the tackle that made sure the home side could never settle in possession when they had the pill in hand. Unfortunately, Fylde lost the influential Loney at prop part way through the first half to first team duties and the home side never recovered.
More dangerous running in the Hoppers back line from Dunne, Gage and Elliot and I suppose Yates (who from what I was told limped off with his quiff bent slightly to the left), saw Hoppers pull further ahead through Dunne, Ward and Horrocks.
The strangely mild autumnal weather saw temperatures reach the lofty 20˚C on the Costa del Fylde and a little note to the dilapidated old farts on the side-lines, Shadwell & Jackson, thanks for the continuous flow of water – much appreciated!
Maybe dehydration was the cause for Peterson’s unusual wayward kicking display from the tee?
The abiding theme of the match became one of swarming Hoppers attack, interrupted briefly in the third quarter by Fylde’s scrambled defence, which soon depicted that of a crunchy bar, honeycombed, brittle and of course, yellow & black… a given.
Fylde 3RD XV 3-34 Hoppers 3RD XV
After half time Fylde did try to reinstate some pride into this normally fiercely contested local derby and should be credited with never letting their heads drop in difficult circumstances. Their fly half and hooker a constant threat with ball in hand and the efforts of the whole side in defence could not be questioned.
It was pleasing to see the recent re-start mishaps put to bed, Jamie Best personally setting about resolving the issue. Composure from the restarts provided a clean platform for the electric backs to do what they do best – run riot!
Special mention to Dunne and Gale, both showing fantastic athleticism and vision throughout the afternoon when scurrying at the Fylde defence.
Hoppers weathered all that the Ansdell outfit could throw at them and inflicted frequent punishment with a number of long distance scores. The electric Horrocks at the heart of it all with Elliot beginning to stretch his legs, both adding scores along with further tries for Ward and Gale. It was good to see Flanagan returning to the squad from his misdemeanours at university and adding to the score board, the youngster slightly more shaven and bleary eyed than on his last appearance. It was somewhat shameful that, with four tries already in his bag, Horrocks opted to be high tackled and collect the penalty try for the team rather than add to his tally, with many cynical on lookers pondering whether this was a ploy to avoid further jugs at the bar.
With the referee’s call of ‘last play’ ringing in their ears, Hoppers put the icing on the cake with a move that started in their own twenty two and saw them go the distance through a move which involved just about half the team.
Overall, a fantastic display from the boys (one to savour!) and give them every reason to look forward to next week’s mouth-watering clash with Hoppers 4th XV next Saturday at Lightfoot Green.
Fylde RFC 3RD XV 3-77 Hoppers 3RD XV