Preston Grasshoppers vs Hull Ionians

Date: 27 January 2024

Preston Grasshoppers 44-35 Hull Ionians

Preston Grasshoppers finally got their first home win of the season as they beat Hull Ionians 44-35 in a great display of rugby at Lightfoot Green.

It was a thrilling contest full of attacking intent, with both sides picking up a try scoring bonus point. Preston scored seven tries on the day, including a hattrick for Tyler Spence.

Hoppers came flying out of the blocks scoring the first try just four minutes in, travelling through several phases before going out wide, and into the hands of Spence who dove over the line.

It was Hull Ionians who scored next, taking a free opportunity after the Hoppers player lost the ball in the tackle, and Sam Pocklington was on hand to roll over the line. Lewis Minikin added the extras to put the visitors into the lead.

Ionians continued to make the most of their chances, when 20 minutes in they stole the ball from a poor lineout, Josh Britton made the break, before offloading to James Thompson who produced an outstanding finish into the corner.

Hoppers brought themselves back in when Scott Richardson broke through the defence, before passing to Jacob Browne who found himself with plenty of space to grab Preston’s second try.

Ill-discipline started to cost Hoppers towards the end of the half with Minikin scoring three penalties before half time, including an incredible kick from halfway.

Preston started the second half with a bang, with an incredible try just three minutes in from Jack Lightowler, as he took the ball just outside the 22 before beating several tackles and running under the posts.

Five minutes later, clever play from Rory Brand allowed him the chance to run with the ball out of the scrum before squeezing through two defenders to put Hoppers back in front.

Preston scored their third in ten minutes with a brilliant piece of team play, finishing with Spence adding his second of the match.

66 minutes in, and Sam Wilson found himself in plenty of space before running through to put Hull back within four points.

With ten minutes to go, Hoppers scored two tries in two minutes, the first scored by Alastair Murray after brilliant play from the hosts allowed a 3v1, giving the team plenty of options to score, with Murray running into the corner.

The second was scored by Spence, who rounded off his hattrick after Lightowler unselfishly put him in after a brilliant break through to score the Hoppers final try of the game.

Hull Ionians rounded off the scoring when Joseph Makin went over from close range.

The result meant that Hoppers picked up their first win at home this season, and their first win in six games. They next play Hull away from home in a fortnights time.

Report by Tom Kelly, pictures by Mike Craig

Hull Ionians 27 Jan 2024

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