Sedgley Park 3rd XV 5-46 PGRFC 3rd XV
TIGERS TAMED BY HOPPERS
Hoppers balanced side of youth and savoir-faire propelled Tom Peterson’s men to their fifth consecutive win of the campaign, deep in the Tigers lair. The first ten minutes saw both teams guilty of unforced error and ill-discipline which ultimately led to a disjointed affair.
As the game settled down Sedgley were knocked backwards by a Hoppers cavalry, led by the excellent Marshall and top try scorer Andy Horrocks, each scoring breakaway tries in quick succession. Both conversions were slotted between the sticks by Peterson. Hoppers fourteen points to the good.
Credit where credits due, Sedgley knuckled down, led through grit and determination up front. Direct phase play down the middle of the pitch saw the deficit reduced to nine and the usual obstinate Hoppers defence buckle under pressure. From the kick-off Sedgley, buoyed by the raucous crowd, worked the pill towards the Hoppers five metre line but were met this time by a bullish Hoppers defence.
Looking towards the Hoppers bench, it was nice to see Alan Jones had decided to make an appearance. The rotund, beleaguered, unmistakable figure of a half cut Jones, seemed to provide an instant lease of life for Hoppers (the thought of Jonesy paying for half the end of season tour in fines) and momentum shifted towards the Tigers 22. An unsavoury moment saw Sedgley’s No.8 binned for trying to knock little sense into an innocent Lightfoot along with a Eurovision audition from Best squawking at the referee. Hoppers took the three points from the resultant penalty and momentum swung back in Hoppers favour as the half time whistle was blown.
Sedgley Park 3rd XV 5 – Hoppers 3rd XV 17
It was a breathless start to the second half which erupted from the kick – off. With the introduction of the evergreen Leeming, back after a four year hiatus, Hoppers pack began to build a platform. This allowed the electric pace in the back line to come to the fore, a sweeping move through a midfield gap opened it up for Marshall to put the ball wide into Sedgleys’ 22, finding Platt who scored with his first touch of the game to finish the move.
After several warnings from the referee about hands in the ruck, the obtuse Ringrose became the second player of the game to see a yellow card for cynically killing the ball at the break-down. The Geordie’s grumbles falling on deaf ears. Despite the inferior numbers, Hoppers’ scoring did not let up with Ben Rhodes-Powers showing great vision and skill to grubber kick through and collect to score a fine solo effort.
Back to a full complement and Hoppers tails up, the backs began to pierce holes in the thinning Tigers film, Horrocks further extending Hopper’s lead with a superb run down the blind side. Special mention to Alex Ward, showing a wise head on young shoulders to outwit his opposing number and crash over the chalk. A direct run from the dangerous Rhodes-Powers added his second to complete the win.
A much improved second half from the lads in navy and white who are showing signs of mounting a serious promotion push and on this showing, they have every reason to believe in their cause
Sedgley Park 3rd XV 5 – Hoppers 3rd XV 46
Photo courtesy of Duncan Brown