Hoppers 2nd XV come away from Vale of Lune with a convincing 5-64 win.
With the injury list resembling the cast of extras in the 1970s Korean War sitcom M.A.S.H, it was fair to say that the Hoppers coaching staff had a challenging week selection wise. After last week’s ‘Hara-kiri’ the message was to cast off last week’s ‘skates’ and get back to winning ways by coming away victorious at Vale of Lune.
Achieving the win wasn’t the most satisfying outcome of the day. Hoppers arrived with an array of new additions to the line-up, with the perennial Craig Steel stepping up to the bench from a 4 yr sabbatical.
With so many new additions, the message from the coaches was to simply keep the ball alive, not get into an ‘arm wrestle’ with Vale’s larger, less mobile pack and keep them on the back foot. It was soon evident that Hoppers just simply had too much pace and guile for the opposition.
With the level of discipline and intensity that Hoppers started the game with, the pack were running the show from the off. Superbly marshalled by Whyte, quick ball was recycled and fed to the backs. Tries then came thick and fast with the new lads Milliken and Roper having the lion’s share of success, cutting the opposition wide men to pieces.
In defence, Hurst and Reddick led the line and Hoppers stood impenetrable. Vale found no way through with their direct runners being strongly repelled time after time. With Forster and Hurst pinning vale into their own half with some great interaction and kicking, Hoppers continued to be dominant and led 0-34 at half time.
The second half was much the same with Vale getting a consolation try under the posts late on in the second half. The score finished 5-64 to Hoppers and it wasn’t the score line that was the most pleasing. The discipline shown by the Hoppers players was exemplary, exemplified by the 4 penalties conceded in the whole game.
This was such a contrast to the previous week and left the coaches relishing the visit of Stockport to Lightfoot lane.
Team: Shepherd, Tuff(c), Burns, Lambert, Mulholland, Gage, Other, Proctor, Whyte, Forster, Swarbrick, Hurst, Reddick, Roper, Milliken