Hoppers U14s 10 Fylde U14s 0
Blacksticks Blue Lancashire Cup First Round.
6th October 2013.
The first round of the Blacksticks Blue Lancashire was at Hoppers, with another beautiful sunny day setting up a really competitive game, as usual with the two teams. Both set of supporters remembering that these were the finalists last year, with Hoppers winning by the narrowest of margins in the drop kick shoot out after a draw in regular time.
Hoppers played up the slight slope and kicked off. Kieran put in a good kick off, but Fylde set up well and moved the ball a couple of time, stopped by a crunching tackle by Duggy. Setting up for a stunning display both in defense and attack by Duggy. The Hoppers’ forwards were standing up much better to the usually strong Fylde outfit, with recent memories of the dominance in last year’s final all but dispelled in the early exchanges as Hoppers pinned them back and had territorial dominance.
Kieran ran back a kick from Fylde and set up the first real chance as he off loaded to Duggy, but good defense from Fylde held out. Hoppers were dominating territory, but Fylde playing well also. The Hoppers’ back row were really gelling, and Harry was getting the upper hand from open side flanker position, with a great mobility and a turn over in the early exchanges. Kieran put in a brilliant kick to put the pressure on Flylde, but Ryan cleared well for Fylde as they won the lineout and cleared their lines.
Fylde were struggling to make any headway in the backs against a strong Hoppers defensive line. Great tackles by Callum, Kieran, Ben and by Duggy on the Fylde winger, kept them pinned back and saw them time and again failing to get over the gain line. The defensive off side line set was rather generous for both side, which meant that the backs had to really move the ball fast to get the ball wide and create some space. Hoppers did that better than Fylde. The match was close and hard-fought with some excellent work by both side, but the score remaining 0-0.
Hoppers opened the score after some excellent work. The Fylde defense came up really fast, but a miss pass to Ben created space and the ball got to Nathan on the right wing, who did really well not to get pushed into touch, setting the ball up for the next phase. The forwards recycled well and Kieran took the ball and fed Harry, who got the ball to Duggy who drove the ball in and scored near to the left hand wing. 5-0, conversion missed.
Hoppers put pressure on themselves from the kick off spilling the ball, with Fylde attacking dangerously, stopped by Sam M who defended the blind side strongly driving the attacker into touch. Fylde had their best spell, but Hoppers still dominated the territory and Fylde did not look like breaking the Hoppers line.
The Hoppers’ back row were dominant, with Harry and Sam M doing excellently on the fringes and Duggy incredibly powerful. The forwards were at least holding their own in the tight and even having conceded one against the head, Hoppers put in a strong defense from the backs to force the Fylde error and snuff out any real danger. The line out was working well for Fylde and keeping them in the game and one of the few attacks in our half was from a Fylde kick, cleared up Adam M, showing great mobility from a tight forward to get back and feed Ben and Hoppers rucked well won a penalty and relieved the pressure.
Hoppers were looking really dangerous in the backs every time they got the ball, and only spectacular defense from Fylde stopped Hoppers adding to the score. A great run by Ben scorching down the left wing was stopped by a brilliant tackle by Adam I, the Fylde full back. The ball was run again from the break down and Nathan was only stopped by great defense again by Fylde. Half time 5-0.
The second half was started by a kick off by Fylde and Hopppers again put themselves under pressure with a knock on. The Hoppers’ back row was again working well and Sam M turned the ball over and led to a strong attack by Harvey and Ross. Both defenses were still dominating, despite some really high quality play from both sides. Kieran attempted to break the line on several occasions with cleaver kicks, and Hoppers kept Fylde pinned back in their own half. Dangerous attacks by Harvey and the other Hoppers backs were unsuccessful and Fylde had a dangerous run by Ryan, stopped by a brilliant tackle from Kieran.
Hoppers were always looking dangerous in the backs, with Harvey, Ben and Callum combining well, but to no avail. Finally, Hoppers got the second score as Duggy picked up from the back of a third phase attack, with the ball set up by Adam R and Alastair, and powered over to score. 10-0, conversion missed.
The Hoppers forwards now were really playing well with good runs by Alastair and Ross and good performances from all the team working really hard in the set scrums. The backs had been excellent all day, with Kieran kicking well at times to set up dangerous attacks or relieve pressure. Closely matched play followed but no more score, with the match ending 10-0. As usual this had been a highly competitive match and a great start to the Hoppers’ defense of their Lancashire Cup title.