Blackburn U16s 13 Hoppers U16 26
One of the last fixtures of our season was scheduled as a local Derby against Blackburn. Since inflicting their only defeat of 2015 in the cup group final game in January when we played at Lightfoot Green, Blackburn had been enjoying a rich vein of form culminating in them successfully retaining their Lancashire Plate final title last weekend.
Our last game had been an ill tempered affair with progression in the Cup at stake with Hoppers taking the victory 21-0, however Blackburn were determined to seek a very different result this time around especially playing on home turf.
With Hoppers competitive season having ended some weeks earlier it was a squad who arrived at Blackburn in a relaxed casual mood to find Blackburn already hard at it out on the training field. With news then delivered that kickoff was being brought forward half an hour to accommodate a Lancashire U17 fixture the Hoppers stragglers had barely reached the ground before the ref called the boys together for his briefing where he made it very clear he expected a good clean competitive game with no nonsense.
With play under way it was soon apparent Blackburn wanted it more and building a platform through their solid and hardworking forwards they quickly scored and converted, further cementing their dominance with a penalty kick to go 10-0 up after what must have been only five minutes!
Time to wake up Hoppers!
The Hoppers U16s play with no little commitment and flair and having shrugged off their lethargy soon started to turn the game into a compelling and fitting season ending contest. Countering with a strong forward based attack to score a try in reply, complemented by a silky backs move to follow, the score at half time had moved on to a more secure 10-12 with everything to play for in the second half.
Keenly contested throughout with Blackburn impressively imposing themselves at the breakdown and applying great pressure through their well drilled forwards the game provided great entertainment but Hoppers were more than willing to soak up the pressure before mounting attacks through their increasingly dangerous backs, a ruled out try from a quickly taken line out not enough to put them off their stride. As a mirror image to the first half a stunning backs try to press home their increasing dominance followed by a superb line out and driving maul to show the Hoppers forwards know a trick or two of their own concluded the scoring for Hoppers with their hosts second half kicked penalty their only points to leave the final score 13-26.
A great game between two fierce local rivals played in the right spirit is certainly a worthwhile way to spend a Sunday morning