PGRFC vs Stourbridge

Date: 29 March 2014

Hoppers fell to their fifth loss in their last six games as they were beaten by Stourbridge and remain perilously close to the bottom three.

The visitors put in a clinical display soaking up plenty of Hoppers territory and possession before capitalising on their chances in the 22 to secure a try bonus point. Hoppers had long spells of possession but made too many mistakes and were unable to unlock a visiting defence that played on the limit of the laws.

Speaking after the game a disappointed Gath Dew said; “We made too many errors today, we dropped balls, missed tackles and didn’t get points when we got into the 22. Yes Stourbridge spent a lot of time off their feet, killing the ball and were border line all day on the offside line but they showed they are a big smart team especially in the 22”.

“We played well in places, again the forwards did a good job at the set piece and we were prepared for them to start well as their league position doesn’t reflect the class of their players many of who have played at National 1. The breakdown was critical on another day we may have seen more yellow cards as the penalty count grew, we knew they’d tire towards the end but we left too big a gap to do much about it.”

“We have three games to go and we have to win, it’s going to be interesting as we can’t sit around feeling sorry for ourselves we just have to go out and perform.”

Hoppers started the game brightly and really took the initiative to Stourbridge but after spending time in the 22 they came away with nothing and the visitors showed their clinical nature. They won a penalty inside Hoppers half and kicked well into the corner and while Hoppers resisted Drew Harpers initial drive they didn’t have the men to stop a quick recycle and Ben Barklay powered over.

There was another good spell of possession for Hoppers before a turnover left them exposed out wide and quick hands put Nathan Bressington away in the corner and gave Stourbridge a 14-0 lead.
Lewis Allen would narrow the gap with a penalty but a clever backs move put Stefan Shillingford through a big gap and while the centre would be stopped short of the line it resulted in a 5m scrum. Again Harper would be stopped just short but Ciaran Moore wasn’t to be denied.

Hoppers ended the half on a bright note as a superb try from Sam Kendall gave them some hope, after a nice line out drive the winger took a delayed pass from Allen to power through a number of tackles and the sides went in 10-21 at the break.

It needed to be a big second half effort but just five minutes into the half a poor clearance kick was retuned into the Hoppers 22 before a number of missed tackles allowed Stour captain Tatenda Mukarati to secure the bonus point try.

Hoppers tried wilfully to force their way back into the game, Allen slotted another penalty and the referee finally saw fit to sin bin both Gary Dipple and Toby Hanley as the visitors penalty count got out of hand, much to the dismay of players and the home support.

However, even with the man advantage Hoppers were unable to convert territory into points until the final play when quick ball and good work from Harry Moulding and Sam Russell put Allen over.

Full Time

Preston Grasshoppers 18-28 Stourbridge


The photographs below are used with the kind permission of Mike Craig.

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