Stockport 2nd XV 8 Hoppers 2nd XV 64
The second team made it ten wins from ten with a resounding victory over a highly rated Stockport side. Hoppers’ victory was underpinned by a powerful performance from their outstanding pack. The home side’s pack were overwhelmed from the off with Preston shoving their hosts off a set scrum and back up the hill.
For the second week running Hoppers overcame atrocious weather conditions and should be credited for the way they tried to keep the ball alive.
Sam Whyte opened the scoring on five minutes as his pack shoved Stockport back once more. Farley missed the extras but Hoppers were good value for their early lead. The hosts managed to build some pressure but Young’s men defended well and broke downfield. Despite some apparent crossing in midfield Proctor jinked through for a converted score.
Hoppers were soon 17 points to the good when Whyte cleared and his kick was fielded by Marshall who pounced when the left winger spilled the ball. The New Zealander had work to do but finished well from fifty metres.
Five minutes later the abrasive Jonny Doney scored as the Hoppers pack drove a line out over the Stockport line. With Farley’s conversion came thunder and lightning and the sparse crowd were wondering if frogs or locusts were on route. Just a minute later the home side were on the board as Hoppers were penalised but a 24-3 lead already looked insurmountable for the Beagles.
Preston again profited from a driven line out which allowed Mawdsley to barrel over for an unconverted try. With half time fast approaching the match was hit by a hail storm but Preston were keen to finish the half strongly despite the inclement conditions. Proctor grabbed his second try as Hoppers dominated another five metre scrummage. The teams found sanctuary in the changing rooms and Young’s tyros were 36-3 ahead and pretty untroubled with it.
Bizarrely the second half was greeted by sunshine but Hoppers continued to dominate the game. Napier fielded a drop out athletically and broke deep into Stockport territory. Elliott was rewarded with the try and Farley converted.
The home side then enjoyed their best period with a brief spell of pressure. Hoppers were penalised and the Beagle’s scrum half broke quickly. Preston hadn’t retreated sufficiently and Stockport drove the resultant line out over for their solitary try.
Five minutes later Young’s men got their revenge. Seemingly affronted by conceding a try they camped themselves deep in Stockport’s half. The Hoppers pack drove another line out over the whitewash and Mawdsley had bagged his second. Farley’s fine kick saw Hoppers bring up the half century.
The league leaders weren’t finished and some excellent continuity allowed Jack Banks to charge under the posts for another maximum. Stockport looked a weary team and from the resultant restart Hoppers put the ball through the hands. Marshall scored from half way, beating some tired looking defence along the way. Farley added another conversion and Hoppers could be well satisfied with their afternoon’s work.
The result and more importantly, the performance sets Hoppers up nicely for next week’s derby against Fylde. The men from the Woodlands beat second place Caldy on Saturday which means that Hoppers have opened up a three point gap at the top of the Bateman Premier League.