Hoppers stretched their unbeaten run to six games with a dominant bonus point win over struggling Broadstreet. Based around a solid display from the pack, which destroyed the visiting scrum and controlled the tempo of the game, Hoppers recorded their first home 5 point haul since October.
Sean Taylor scored twice, and added 11 points from the kicking tee, with Lewis Allen and Harry Moulding also crossing the try-line. The visitors started the brighter of the sides but once Hoppers got a foothold in the game there was only one winner with the Broadstreet handling and decision making stifling their attack.
A happy head coach Garth Dew said; “I’m pleased with the 5 points and especially the display from the front row who really gave us a platform. John Peterson, Alan Holmes and Pete Altham must be one of the best front rows in the league and they dismantled the scrum and won us a number of penalties.”
“We didn’t start well, not helped by an early yellow card, but the defence upped its intensity and once we got going we were in control. It’s nice to see us play some rugby and get the backs involved with Sean and Lewis getting their hands on the ball. I’d have liked a little more accuracy but we won that at about 70% of what we can do.”
“We did our homework on Broadstreet and they found it hard to create chances and that was down to a solid game plan but also our physicality. Andy Napier and Will Lees may not be the biggest but they put in some ‘bone crunching’ tackles and having Ally Murray at 8 gives us more options.”
“We were able to have two backs on the bench which is something we will hope to do more with the grounds hardening and it showed our strength in depth having guys like Zav, Scott Jordan and Chris Taylor to bring on.”
The match was played in some awful conditions with a swirling wind throughout and a mixture of sporadic rain and sleet. Hoppers got off to a poor start were reduced to 14 men early when Reece Tomlinson was yellow carded for an off the ball incident and while they were able to hold out for the ten minutes Broadstreet scored just as the lock returned to the pitch as a 5m line-out was shifted quickly from one touchline to the other with Aaron Martin going in the corner.
The visitors controlled most of the opening 20 minutes but a huge scrum against the head not only gave Hoppers a penalty, which Taylor converted, but saw a change in momentum.
Taylor scored his first try after another dominant scrum gave Hoppers turnover ball and a kick through from Olly Viney and then Taylor put the full back over and gave Hoppers a 10-5 half time lead.
Hoppers came out strong in the second half and scored their second try within minutes of the restart as a turnover in their own 22 was advanced by John Mackenzie and then quick hands from backs and forwards sending it across to Allen on the wing who beat his man and the covering full back for a superb score.
Lee Chapman got a penalty for the visitors, but Hoppers scrum dominance lead to their third try as Broadstreet were again pushed off their own ball just 5m from their line and scrum half Moulding saw an opportunity when the ball came free for a real poachers score.
The bonus point was secured when Taylor crossed for his second, again with the scrum setting the platform inside the visitors 22 and good hands across the backline put the fullback into space. Broadstreet did get a consolation try when Jake Dodd grounded but it was too little too late.
Looking forward Dew added; “Next up we travel to South Leicester who are tough at home so we will have to up the intensity, something that has been very good in training, and work on our attack but we are confident of keeping this run going.”
Preston Grasshoppers 31-13 Broadstreet
The photos below are used with the kind permission of Mike Craig.