Rochdale U16s 7 Hoppers U16s 38
Sunday 12th October
Hoppers arrived at Rochdale to find that Bury U16s had folded and all their players had defected on mass and thus the home team had a squad of 30 and in order to allow time for all players 3 periods were agreed upon.
Hoppers were keen to give game time for all the players not selected for last weeks cup match and the coaches asked all players to step up and stamp their mark on the game..
Matt HD was still carrying a groin injury and rested again and it’s hoped he will be fit for next week.
The Hoppers forwards lacked a bit of grit in the 1st period and Will Cornwell at 9 lived off scraps.
Aaron Reed playing at fly off set himself up for the first score with a delightful chip and chase that bounced up nicely for him to sprint clear and score under the posts. Will Walker slotted the conversion.
The second period saw a large change of players from both sides and again the Hoppers forwards struggled to secure decent ball with the exception of Ewan Naylor who looked majestic in the line-out taking all his own ball and disrupting much of Rochdale’s.
Hoppers failed to get over the opposition line and some sloppy tackling allowed the home side to go over for a converted try.
The third period saw the Hoppers field the strongest side and moved Matt Sturgess to stand-off with Cal Brooks back at scrum half. The forwards began to dominant with fine work by Sam Russell and the front row of Dicko, George Pearson and Dec Norrington. Brooks’ match finished prematurely as a niggly groin forced him off to be replaced by debutant Jack Dugdale who made an instant impact and looked very lively.
Hoppers pressure began to pay dividends and finally things clicked into place with the forwards securing good ball and the backs running freely. Josh Rawlinson ran in two classy tries and Charlie Crossland, Reed and Dicko went over too. Sturge managed 3 conversions.
Worthy of mention was also a strong few runs from big Will Douglas and magnificent (!!!) kicks from two of PGHs talented backs.. Lancashire, Sale and North of England’s Reed for a sliced punt across field aimed at the winger but taken by our own full back stood behind… Sturge’s (lancashire) attempted quick kick off that actually went about 4 metres.. But with some honour Sam Tickle for winning the end of match drinking contest with the Rochdales Man of the match (it was a pint of blackcurrant before anyone reports us to Children’s Services ..)