So another season draws to a close and a tough season it has been, with the weather proving the toughest opponent this year, but nothing is over until a wonderful days rugby at the Hoppers Festival.
The under 10’s submitted two teams into the festival this year (Green and White). Hoppers Green had been drawn in a group alongside Fylde, Kendal, Manchester and Waterloo. With Hoppers White facing up against, Vale of Lune, Waterloo and Fylde. Both teams got off to a reasonably sluggish start, as seems to be the way a lot of the time, Hopper Green falling to an opening defeat against Fylde and Hoppers White managing to take a slender victory against Vale of Lune. By the second round of matches all the boys had started to find their feet a little more, Hoppers Green holding their own with a fabulous defensive effort against a very good team from Waterloo, with the game ending in a draw.
Hoppers White faced up against a familiar Fylde side that and came out winners in the game. Hoppers White then found themselves with an extended break in their programme, with Kendal having been unable to provide a second team, Hopper Green had their third game against the Kendal team that had made it. In this game the boys got the victory their efforts to this point had deserved, they continued to put pressure on their opponents, forcing errors and being able to capitalise on these proved too much for the opponents. The final group games now beckoned for both teams, the Greens coming up against an excellent team from Manchester who proved to be just a little too organized and ran out winners. The Whites faced a group deciding game against a team from Waterloo. In what was a very close run game, Waterloo came out on top and eventually this Waterloo team went on to win the cup.
For our Hoppers teams, Green found themselves placed into the Vase competition, with Whites in the Plate. In their Semi-finals Green faced up against a very strong side from Lymm and Whites had Manchester as their opposition. Hoppers Green was a very tight run game, once again Hoppers defence was immense, holding a couple of certain tries. The game ended at 1-1, with Hoppers taking the game based on the count back rules of the festival. Hoppers White proved to be too strong and organised for the Manchester team they faced running out winners by the final whistle. So for the first time in this teams history, we had two teams in finals, Greens facing Darlington in the Vase final and Whites having Eccles in the Plate final. Greens were first up and faced a very evenly matched team, with efforts from both teams cancelling each other out for most of the game, with only the occasional breaks offering glimpses of opportunity. By the final whistle the game was still 0-0 and the Vase was shared between the two teams. Next up in their final were Hopper Whites. Large parts of the game revolved around a arm wrestle for supremacy, with both teams sniping to try and find gaps. Hoppers White proved to be too strong however, managing to find the gaps more often and more successfully, running out overall winners of the Plate.
All in all, there was no better way to finish off a wonderful season with the Under 10’s, a group of lads that continue to grow in numbers and confidence and with three trophies to their names this season, long may that continue.