Sale FC 2nd XV 14 Hoppers 2nd XV 45
The second team enjoyed a convincing victory over a dogged and determined Sale side at a sunny but blustery Heywood Road on Saturday afternoon.
Hoppers played some great stuff, winning the battle of the breakdown, dominating the scrum and having sufficient power to break the line on a regular basis.
The home side played their part and ensured that Young’s men didn’t have things entirely their own way but Hoppers can be satisfied with their afternoon’s work.
Hoppers started strongly with Reddick breaching the Sale defence before feeding evergreen winger Russ Flynn. Farley added the extras and Preston were up and running.
Sale were finding Preston’s power increasingly hard to deal with and the visitors spent long periods camped in their opponents twenty two. A powerful line out drive preceded some quick ball which allowed Taylor to send a cut out pass to Elliott who was able to walk over for an unconverted try.
The home side fought gamely and capitalised on some sloppiness from Preston as their hooker intercepted a loose pass from Roebuck to gallop home from twenty yards.
However a score of 12-7 flattered Sale and Hoppers soon re-enforced their dominance. Sale struggled to clear their lines and a loose clearance was fielded by Whyte who fed Elliott. The young winger scored his second from fully thirty metres, breaking several tackles along the way. Farley’s extras saw Preston enjoying with a twelve point advantage.
Lock Jack Bank then increased Hoppers’ lead scoring from the base of a maul. The home side had no answer to the speed and dynamism Preston were able to get from a line out drive. The sides turned round with the away side 26-7 to the good.
Sale then enjoyed their best period of the match as they managed to exert some pressure. Preston also got themselves on the wrong side of the referee with some needless back chat and it was little surprise when Banks was sent to the bin for side entry at a ruck. The home side took advantage to score a converted try in the right corner.
Credit to Hoppers though as they weathered the storm and regained the territorial advantage. After a lengthy period of pressure Moulding crossed and Young’s charges led 31-14. Sale began to tire and Hoppers remained camped in their host’s twenty two. Killian Wallace then took advantage of a big blind side to score after a huge line drive from the Preston pack.
Farley added another conversion but Hoppers weren’t finished yet. Chris Taylor, who ran man of the match Alex Roebuck very close, snaffled a try from the base of a scrum as the Hoppers pack pushed their opponents over.
45-14 was a fair reward for Hoppers and they remain top of the Bateman Premier League. Caldy, in second, won again although Fylde Hawks came unstuck at this season’s surprise package, Stockport who are in third.
Next week Preston entertain struggling Sandbach although a few battered bodies means that the fixture cannot be taken lightly by any means. Hoppers though, are unbeaten since mid-January so will approach the fixture with optimism and expectation.