Hoppers made the short trip across the Pennine’s to record a superb win in awful conditions against struggling Huddersfield.
With both teams finding themselves at the wrong end of the table this really was a must win and Hoppers set about their task in a positive but intelligent way, playing the conditions much better than their hosts and learning the lessons from their previous game.
A delighted head coach Garth Dew said; “I’m absolutely chuffed with the lads, we definitely learned from two poor wet weather games against Otley and Harrogate and put into practise what we had done in training.”
“We emphasise ball control in games like this and we got it right in the first half with not trying to do play too much and being patient, waiting for our opportunities.”
“We went out with the right mentality, we won a number of turnovers and our rolling maul really came back to be a strength. I was really impressed with the way the back three handled the poor conditions under the high ball, the half backs controlled the game really well and the fired up pack was determined and dominated.”
With heavy rain falling throughout the day and a sodden pitch with areas of standing water this was never going to be a classic, but Hoppers started brightly and pinned Huddersfield into their 22 before Mark Murray’s clever cross kick was well controlled by Scott Jordan and Billy Woof before Will Lees snuck over.
Huddersfield tried to get into the game and two Chris Bell penalties got them within a point but never really threatened the try line as Hoppers defence was resolute and the home backs struggled with their handling.
Sean Taylor landed a penalty to increase the lead before the games brightest moment as Christian Taylor made a stunning break from near 40m to break the line and out pace the covering defence, and Hoppers went into the break with a 15-6 lead.
Hoppers came out in the second half with the same intensity and a superb catch and drive set up another Taylor penalty. Hoppers kicking game again got the better of the hosts and after forcing another mistake they made good yards down the right wing and eventually spun the ball out for Sean Taylor to score and convert.
With the rain persisting and water pooling the visiting fans were delighted to see the game pass the 60 minute mark to ensure a result but their was still time for Hoppers to secure the bonus point as they were awarded a penalty try following a powerful 5m scrum.
Dew added; “We have Sedgley Park next week in our big Christmas fixture and we have a good record against them and will go in full of confidence.”
Huddersfield 6-32 Preston Grasshoppers
Photo courtesy of Tony Callaghan – The lads celebrate in the changing room at full time.