Sheffield vs Preston Grasshoppers

Date: 16 September 2023

Sheffield 36-14 Preston Grasshoppers

Preston Grasshoppers succumbed to a physical battering in a 36-14 defeat against Sheffield at Abbeydale Park, leaving Hoppers with one win in their opening three games.

A derby day defeat at home to Fylde last time out meant Preston looked to get back to winning ways, while Sheff were full of confidence, having beaten Sheffield Tigers last weekend.

The hosts were ahead within six minutes after Ryan Burrows burst through and found Robert Fawdry to wrestle his way over to score, but Elliot Fisher failed to convert.

Despite his wayward kicking from the tee, Fisher was instrumental in Sheff’s second try in an incisive attack which saw Charlie Flinders touchdown.

Hoppers lost Jake Squirrell (pictured above) in the 18th minute after a late hit saw the away side’s scrum half carried off on a stretcher and is set for a lengthy period out with suspected damage to his knee ligaments.

The host’s number eight Burrows continued to wreak havoc in Preston’s defence and broke through to score their third try in the 19th minute.

Burrows doubled his try count and secured a bonus point for Sheff in the 33rd minute when he escaped down the blindside of a rolling maul to touch down unchallenged.

But Hoppers fought back three minutes later when Scott Richardson powered over from close range to give the visitors hope of a comeback.

Tyler Spence further reduced the deficit by diving over the whitewash in the right corner after a fast-paced attack to narrow the scoreline to 22-14 at halftime.

Sheff’s openside flanker Matthew Adcock was sin-binned for foul play after a forearm to the face of a Hoppers tackler.

Referee Jack Moorhouse then sent Spence to the bin in the 63rd minute after he failed to get onside after a quick tap penalty.

Fisher continued his prolific try-scoring form when he dived over from five metres out to take the game away from Hoppers.

Callum Posa snuck over the try line past some tired legs for a final score in the 76th minute to cap off a resounding Sheffield win.

Hoppers coach Dan Orwin highlighted their slow start to the match as a reason for the loss.

He said: “We’re frustrated; it took us a long time to get into the game.

“They’re really comfortable keeping the ball for long periods of time, putting teams under pressure.

“We just let them do that to us for the first 20 minutes, and we found ourselves 22 points down, a really long way back for us.”

The defeat sees Hoppers drop to 11th, with Otley visiting Lightfoot Green next weekend.

Report by Ben Pitkeathly, picture by Mike Craig

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