Altrincham Kersal 2nd XV 17 Hoppers 2nd XV 46
Young’s tyros made it six out of six on Saturday as they overcame a spirited AK side at Stelfox Avenue. Hoppers, who lead the Bateman Premier League, endured a forgettable first twenty minutes, conceding two fairly soft tries down their left flank.
AK seemed determined to upset the Preston apple cart and given they conceded over one hundred points last week their efforts should be applauded. The home side are now coached by former Hopper Chris Stewart and they defended well, forcing Hoppers into numerous errors. However it has to be said that Young’s men struggled to find the fizz and flair which characterised their win against Wilmslow.
Hoppers should be credited for the manner in which they pulled their socks up and dominated the last hour of the match, overcoming injuries to Murray and Elliott along the way.
Preston’s first spell of error free rugby resulted in a converted try for man of the match Jonny Doney, who galloped down the left to finish off a fine passage of play. Farley then added a penalty after some powerful running by Rhodes-Powers and Elliott which meant the scores were tied at ten apiece.
Doney then grabbed his second score after reacting quickest at a messy line out. Farley’s conversion struck the wonkiest uprights in Northern rugby but Hoppers led 15-10.
Just before half time Doney completed his treble after some excellent play by Murray and the ever reliable Banks. Farley missed the extras but Hoppers spun round 20-10 to the good.
Hoppers dominated the second half, particularly at the scrum and an early drive let Sam Whyte bag a converted score. Farley then scored under the posts, converting his own try and Hoppers had grabbed 34 unanswered points.
Dave Perry then pinched an AK line out and from the resultant maul Whyte scampered down the blindside, threw an audacious dummy before finishing in the corner.
Play was then disrupted by a few injuries and other stoppages but AK managed to exert a little bit of pressure for the first time since the first twenty minutes. Their burly lock, who was their stand out player barged his way over for a consolation score.
With the score at 39-17 it seemed as if time would run out but Hoppers had one last score in their locker. Some good continuity and smart play saw the AK defence stretched to bursting point, the result being a try for Rhodes-Powers. Farley added the extras and Young’s men secured another victory, final score 46-17.
Next weekend Hoppers face defending champions and long term rivals Macclesfield at Lightfoot Green. The men from Priory Park have lost their last two fixtures but are sure to be one of the leading contenders for the championship. So far only Caldy have matched Hoppers 100% record whilst Fylde Hawks are lurking in third place.