Hoppers started strongly and the pack showed an early dominance shoving Fylde off the ball against the head. Early pressure from the Hoppers pack resulted in a charged down kick which was collected by Bob Leggat to score the first try of his career. Shortly after some quick hands by the Hoppers backs allowed Alan Howarth in for his first and Hoppers second of the game both converted by Tom Lyth.
Complacency seemed to creep in and the forwards turned off after the two early scores with Fylde getting stronger as the game progressed. Some strong last ditch defence from James Meades and Alan Howarth prevented Fylde getting their first score in the corner during which Alan suffered a cut above the eye forcing him to temporarily leaving the field to be stitched up. The pressure continued from Fylde resulting in them scoring twice and converting once to move within two points of Hoppers. Fylde kicked a second half penalty to move one point ahead of Hoppers with a quarter of the game remaining.
To compound matters Hoppers consistently got on the wrong side of the referee and after earlier warnings Adam Catterall was shown the yellow card leaving Hoppers with 14 men for the last ten minutes and Fylde scenting blood. However, this seemed to re-juvenate Hoppers and following some strong forwards play up the middle and good hands between the Walmsley brothers Alan Howarth received the ball just over the half way line. With a typically strong jinking run, breaking a couple of tackles he dived over in the corner for his second try of the game (see pictures below) the try was unconverted giving Hoppers a 4 point lead with onlyfive minutes to go. Fylde camped in Hoppers 22 from the kick off and there followed a series of scrums, back moves and penalties to Fylde. However the Hoppers 14 showed great spirit to hold them off for a well deserved 19-15 victory.
After 5 games the 4th XV find themselves top of Division 3 North and along with Sale FC 3 are the only unbeaten side.
The club would like to thank Martin Hothersall and Simon Walmsley for providing the photos and the match report.