Glossop Junior Colts 27-27 Preston Grasshoppers Junior Colts
Preston Grasshoppers win 5-4 on penalty kicks / Sunday 3rd May 2015
The Junior Colts looked to complete the double by adding a 4th consecutive Lancashire Cup to their collection. The opponents this time being Derbyshire outfit Glossop. For first time this season Hoppers had a full squad to select a team from.
Hoppers had looked good in the warm up, with the intensity building throughout. With the news hitting the lads that this will be the last game they play as a singular age group team, the message all the way through being “we don’t lose finals”. All of the lads were up for the fight as they had already been beaten twice in the season by Glossop, as they finished 3rd in the colts league A.
Truth be told, the players were probably too up for the occasion as they allowed Glossop’s fly half to walk through the defence untouched to score the first try of the game within 3 minutes. The Glossop 10 ran the show in the first half and it was easy to see why he is currently in premiership side Gloucester’s academy. Glossop 5-0 Preston Grasshoppers.
Hoppers then calmed down and started to put some phases together, working their way up the pitch, however the backs couldn’t get much space due to Glossop’s impressive defensive line speed. The forwards eventually won a penalty in front of the posts, and Bashall converted to reward their efforts. Glossop 5-3 Preston Grasshoppers.
As the half went on you could see that there was no real difference between the two teams, but Hoppers were dominating possession. Glossop’s defence was proving to be tough and their imposing back row were earning their side relief by turnovers. It was from a penalty that Glossop launched yet another attack. Hands wide to the backs allowed a 2 on 1 overlap with the winger going on to score under the posts. Glossop had been in Hoppers 22 twice and score 2 tries. Glossop 12-3 Preston Grasshoppers.
Half time Glossop 12-3 Preston Grasshoppers.
Hoppers started the second half like they did the first, by allowing Glossop to score an easy try. Again the emotion of the occasion seemed to get to the lads. Glossop 17-3 Preston Grasshoppers.
Finally the relentless Hoppers possession was beginning to tell as the Glossop defence started to tire. This allowed Hoppers the Hoppers forwards to gain some yards, before a perfectly executed backs move set Jacob Browne free. He drew the defence and released James Molloy-Mason who scored in the corner. Bashall made an excellent conversion from the touchline. Glossop 17-10 Preston Grasshoppers.
From the resulting kick off Glossop earned themselves a penalty and the Glossop captain took no time to point to the posts. Glossop’s fly half knocked it over. 20-10 Preston Grasshoppers.
The game then turned into a bit of an arm wrestle with both teams trying to enforce a kicking game to gain territory. With a line out around the Glossop 22, Hoppers because a rolling maul to take them into the red zone, another excellent backs move allowed Aiden Clow to put through Owen Pye who shook off 3 defenders to score. The conversion was missed. Glossop 20-15 Preston Grasshoppers.
It was Glossop who seemed to kill the game off however, as their Lancashire Representative, Greg Moran, broke through in the Hoppers half to score under the sticks. Heading into the last quarter. Hoppers were frustrated as they felt all 3 officials missed a forward pass, a foot touch in goal and a dropped ball in the process of scoring. Glossop 27-15 Preston Grasshoppers.
With 10 minutes to play Hoppers seemed to step it up a gear and kept hold of the ball for long spells of play. The ball came to Bashall who delivered a chip over the defence, everyone seems to misjudge the bounce of the ball except Aiden Clow who caught and ran clear of the defence to score in the corner. Bashall conversion came back off of the crossbar. Glossop 27-20 Preston Grasshoppers.
With time running out Glossop had pinned Hoppers back into their own half. Determined as ever Hoppers won themselves a penalty on their own 10 metre, and when it seemed as though they would kick to touch, Bashall took a quick tap. Seemingly running into the crowd of Glossop players he came through untouched. The crowd erupted as Bashall had found himself outpacing the Glossop fullback to score under the posts. Bashall converted his own try .Glossop 27-27 Preston Grasshoppers.
In the remaining 4 minutes. Naivety by Hoppers allowed the Glossop 10 to attempt 3 drop goals. All of which drifted wide to Hoppers relief. At full time the ref determined the cup would be shared.
It was then when an official from the RFU came down to the pitch, he announced that the game would go to penalties. Each team had to nominate 5 players to kick. Hoppers volunteers were Harry Bashall, Owen Pye, Aiden Clow, Oliver Cuerden, and Nick Johnson.
After the first three kicks by each team were successful, the 4th kick for both teams drifted wide. It then came down to Nick Johnson to put the pressure on, which he did, but Glossop stuck back. It was to go to sudden death after a four-all draw. James Wood was next to step up and he duly converted. It was up to Lancashire and Glossop player Greg Moran to kick his goal but his kick went under the post. Hoppers started celebrating their cup defence after a great comeback victory.
The representative from the RFU wanted to give a special mention to James Hesketh and Nick Johnson who went to console the Glossop player before anybody else, in what he described as “the best bit of sportsmanship he had even seen”.
It has been a tough season for this Hoppers side having lost several players from last season, but every player has stepped up throughout the season and everyone in the squad contributed to the success in the finals at the end of the season. “We don’t lose finals”.
1. Rhys Phillips
2. Harry Butcher
3. Chris Dixon
4. George Jacques
5. Nick Johnson
6. Harry Robb
7. Conner Dalgleish
8. James Hesketh
9. Kieran Walmsley
10. Aiden Clow / T
11. James Molloy-Mason / T
12. Harry Bashall / P C T C
13. Oliver Cuerden
14. Owen Pye / T
15. Jacob Browne
16. Daniel Flynn
17. Sean Joseph-McCormack
18. Zach Evans
19. James Wood
20. Matthew Reid
21. Rory Goode
The occasion of winning the cup marked a special occasion for head coach Chris Johnson who has now won 10 Lancashire Cups. Chris is looking to retire from junior coaching having done it successfully for 16 years. For two years he has coachied two teams to Lancashire Cup victory in the same year. We hope this is a decision he reconsiders. Thanks must go out to all of the parents who have been tremendous this season, running the lads about up and down the north west, providing support at every game this season. Another thanks must go to Steve (Tino) Tiernan who has been an excellent addition to the coaching staff, whilst also progressing a number of the lads into senior rugby on a Saturday. Lastly to Bronwen Walmsley who has been the team manager over the last few season who is also stepping down. Bronwen does a lot of the behind the scenes work that allows the lads to play on a weekly basis, and will be missed.