Boosted by last week’s away win at Stourbridge, Hoppers were hoping to make it back-to-back wins on the road at lowly Broadstreet, who had yet to record a win so far this season. But that is not the way things turned out as they were always chasing the game and were generally outplayed.
Head Coach Garth Dew reflected: “Again we made too many errors and conceded too many penalties and, unlike last week, when we created opportunities, especially in the second half, we did not take our chances. With Andy Napier and John Mackenzie unavailable, we lacked go-forward ball carriers although Luke Proctor made an impact off the bench and we at least came through with no injuries.”
After Sean Taylor’s 3rd minute penalty drifted wide, Hoppers came under sustained pressure with the lineout proving to be a particular problem and home kicker Dan Richards put his side on the board with a well-struck penalty on 9 minutes followed by another shortly after.
A poor kick-off reception at last gave Hoppers an attacking platform but, opting for a kick to the corner from a penalty, they managed again to lose the lineout and the chance was lost. But the pressure was maintained and Olly Viney’s run was halted only at the expense of a yellow card for home scrum half Thatcher. However, careless handling in a ruck allowed Richards to kick his third penalty before Taylor replied but it was Broadstreet, back to full strength, who were on the attack as the break came with the score at 9-3.
At the restart the home side continued where they had left off and a poor clearance kick gave them an attacking lineout and drive and, when the ball was released, centre Todd Freemantle outstripped the defence to touch down and the kick was good.
Hoppers rang the changes from the bench and started to make some inroads with Taylor, Proctor and Viney prevalent but lacked the support play of their opponents to convert into points until the defence was finally breached, Sam Gale touching down in the corner to reduce the deficit to 16-8.
Again indiscipline struck in the form of another Richards penalty on 65 minutes but this sparked Hoppers’ best period and breaks by Tom Hurst and Taylor culminated in Scott Jordan touching down only to be brought back for a forward pass.
Another home yellow card helped Hoppers’ cause but in throwing everything into attack they left themselves exposed and a break out in the final play ended in a converted try for home No.8 Munro, despite the final pass being forward, to end a miserable day.
Broadstreet 26-8 Preston Grasshoppers