Preston Grasshoppers vs Wharfedale

Date: 25 November 2023

Preston Grasshoppers 22-35 Wharfedale

The search for a home win goes on for Preston Grasshoppers after slipping to a 35-22 defeat against Wharfedale at Lightfoot Green.

Hoppers fell short despite tries from Jack Lightowler, Scott Richardson and Sam Townsley, with the visitors capitalising on Preston’s inconsistency.

Two back-to-back away wins had propelled Hoppers up the table, but a win in front of their home support still proves elusive as we near the Christmas break.

Dale began proceedings with forceful intent and were awarded a simple penalty within six minutes, but fly-half Sam Gaudie managed to drag his kick wide.

Preston defied the visitor’s early momentum with the opening try when Will Hunt’s pinpoint chip fell into the arms of Lightowler for his fourth score since his summer arrival.

But Dale responded through Oliver Cicognini, who showed his attacking prowess to beat several despairing tackles on his way to the try line in the 27th minute.

The visitors doubled their lead before half-time when Oliver Riddiough reacted quickest to the loose ball and fed Robert Baldwin on the overlap to make it 14-5 at the interval.

Referee James O’Brien showed Hopper’s scrum-half Rory Brand a yellow card straight after the break for a technical offence, and his opposite number Riddiough made the most of Cicognini’s endeavour four minutes later to score.

Hoppers fought back when captain Scott Richardson powered over from close range, and Hunt added a penalty ten minutes later to put the pressure on Dale.

Preston’s inability to stop Cicognini proved costly when he put the game out of their reach with a lovely dummy fooling Hoppers’ defenders to sneak over the whitewash.

Dale were relentless, and Tom Beresford scored from close out to seal the victory on 71 minutes.

The resulting fight saw Ally Murray and Elliot Stockton sin-binned with frustrations boiling over.

Sam Townsley did grab a consolation score after the clock had gone red, but his effort was in vain, with Hoppers defeated at home yet again.

Preston head coach Alex Keay was not too downbeat despite the lack of home form.

He said: “We are probably eight months behind them.

“We are going in the right way, I am not too worried the trajectory is the right way.

“35-22 was probably the right score, so how do we make 13 points up, I guess and I think we will do, but we just need time.”

Results elsewhere means Hoppers stay in 9th with a trip to Lymm on the cards next Saturday.

Report by Ben Pitkeathly, pictures by Mike Craig

Wharfedale 25 Nov 2023

Back to Rugby Reports Back to Fixtures