PGRFC vs Blaydon

Date: 01 April 2023

Preston Grasshoppers 33-21 Blaydon

Preston Grasshoppers secured a 33-21 bonus point win over Blaydon but lacked ruthlessness at Lightfoot Green.

Tries from Jake Maher, Will Hunt, Oli Trippier, Jacob Browne and Alastair Murray were the difference between the sides in Hoppers’ penultimate home game.

The already relegated visitors played with freedom and were ahead after ten minutes when Jack Appleton capitalised on some sloppy Hoppers’ possession to run in a try in the left corner, which Benjamin Douglas converted.

Hoppers fought back when a dominant scrum saw the ball shipped to the backs, and Maher went through to score after some lovely interplay in midfield, with Hunt converting.

Hunt scored Preston’s second try after breaking through the defensive line to touch down under the posts for a simple conversion attempt.

Referee Ben Rayner sent Will Riley to the sin bin for technical foul play in the 27th minute.

Blaydon made the most of the man advantage, which resulted in Alexander Clark going over after a clever switch from Daniel Marshall, with Douglas successful from the kicking tee.

Oli Trippier grabbed Hoppers’ third try before halftime when he dived over from close range to score, and Hunt converted.

Hoppers secured the bonus point in the 46th minute when Jacob Browne touched down Hunt’s grubber kick, but the fly-half failed to convert.

The North East outfit continued to cause Hoppers problems and scored a third try after Adam Turnbull made a break and offloaded to Charles Smith to dive over the line, which John Clarkson converted.

Riley saw red in the 75th minute after a high tackle saw him receive a second yellow from Rayner.

Alastair Murray capped off the win when he powered over from five metres out to score, and Hunt kicked the final conversion to assure victory.

The win sees Hoppers move up to tenth in National Two North, leapfrogging Sheffield and Huddersfield with two games to go.

Director of Rugby Alex Keay was not satisfied with the performance but believes the team will reach the level they need to.

“They had nothing to lose in the sense that they were already down so it was always going to be a difficult game. We’re not good enough to master that, we’ll get there, I’ve no doubt about it. We can’t be happy with our performance but happy with fact we got a five point win.”

Hoppers travel to Rotherham in two weeks for their final away trip of the campaign.

Report by Ben Pitkeathly, photos by Mike Craig
Blaydon 1 April 2023

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