Waterloo U14s vs PGRFC U14s

Date: 17 April 2014

Waterloo U14s  0   Hoppers U14s  61

13th October 2013

After the excitement of the cup game last week vs Fylde, Hoppers travelled back to Merseyside to play Waterloo, however the conditions were much grimmer than the past few games that were played in dry and sunny conditions. The Waterloo pitches, which belong to Merchant Taylor’s School, were excellent, if a little windswept and as the lads warmed up the heavens opened and heavy rain fell threatening to make the handling very difficult on a really greasy pitch – Not to mention the soaking the large crowd got before the brollies were deployed properly!

A strong turn out from the lads, despite a few injuries, meant the here was a big squad to pick from, with a very handy bench! Waterloo kicked off and the ball was run back well by Jamie, but in the early exchanges Waterloo saw quite a bit of the possession. As with last week, the defense of the backs was spot on, with a strong tackle by Ben snuffing out the first sign of danger from the opposition. Our specialist backs coach, SW, now deployed is already making a difference!

Waterloo had some decent territory as well in the early stages, but the Hoppers’ forwards dominated all day in just about all phases, starving Waterloo of any multiple phases to build on. Hoppers put themselves under pressure on several occasions, though, with poor handling in the backs – understandable in the difficult conditions. The forwards won several set scrums agains the head, with Ollie B excelling at hooker and on the first occasion this relieved the danger after we gave up a 5 metre scrum to Waterloo. The ball won against the head was kicked away well by Ethan debuting at 10, and an excellent chase by Charles meant a penalty awarded to Hoppers.

Waterloo were trying to use the kicking game, but were not really effective and Jamie covered well to set up for Hoppers’ forwards to get possession. Good runs from Harry and other forwards kept Waterloo on the back foot, and the first try came with a great take against the head in the set scrum by Ollie. The ball was then spread by the backs, but the handling was not slick, so Ethan kicked through straight down the middle of the pitch onto their 22m line:  a great chase by Nathan and Jake put enormous pressure on their full back who failed to cover the kick properly. Jake then managed to use his great pace to kick through ‘on the fly’ having had great presence of mind to tap it again over the line before dropping on it to score. 7-0, converted by Charles.

The kick off by Waterloo went into touch, and from the line out Hoppers were immediately on the attack, with excellent forward work again from Harry dropping well to seal the possession and Nathan pressurizing the Waterloo backs after another kick through. We were now getting the phases going and a great break in midfield from Ethan just failed to lead to the second try as the greasy conditions led to a mishandle. Great continuity now ensued from Hoppers and they were beginning to dominate with the forwards winning great, quick ball and the backs starting to master the conditions with some slick handling. Good work from all the players, particularly Harry, Ben and Jamie who put in some dangerous runs. Any ball the Waterloo backs got was under real pressure and we nearly scored as we recovered from Waterloo possession to move the ball quickly through the backs, to set Jake away on the wing, who would have scored, but the ref called forward pass.

The second try was going to come soon, and did finally come after another great win against the head by the forwards. The ball was run down the blind side by Ethan who made great ground to feed Jake on the left wing. Jake ran strongly down the wing, but was closed down, so fed the ball back to Ethan in support who was then stopped by the cover. The forwards provided quick ball for Jake to attack the disorganized defense again on the blind side and go over to score. 12-0 conversion missed.

Jamie fielded the kick off again and there followed really dangerous attacking play with Ethan, Ben and Jamie combining really well but the conditions leading to another knock on.  Waterloo were really struggling to clear their lines, and Hoppers continued to dominate territory. The Hoppers back row were causing Waterloo all kinds of problems with pressure on their kicks and back play when they did get possession, and it was only a matter of time before Hoppers scored again. It nearly came again from Jake, but a high tackle and penalty stopped him on the left wing, after great backs’ work again and a clean break by Nathan.

The forwards were still dominating with great strong runs by Alastair and Adam M, who made a great break of 20m before his mates drove him another 10 in the ensuing maul. The only way they were going to be stopped was by Waterloo pulling it down. Penalty given, Harry showed great decision making to tap quickly and drive over for the third try. 19-0, Charles making the conversion.  Hoppers were now really dominant in both forward and backs and scored again soon after. Waterloo won well in the scrum and opted to attack the wide blind side, but were stopped by Sam M, who then competed well at the breakdown and ended up talking the ball forward into a maul. The forwards again drove well in the maul, and managed to use it, with Charles driving the ball forward, before setting up the quick ball from the ruck. The ball was then spun well to the left and a good break by Nathan put Jamie away as he burst through at pace onto the well timed pass to score. 24-0 conversion missed. Half time. A really good half for Hoppers, but Waterloo competed hard and did not let their heads go down, despite conceding the tries.

The second half started with a number of replacements as all the squad was utilized. Hoppers kicked off with the weather having improved somewhat, and unfortunately for them, Waterloo put themselves under pressure with a knock on from the kick off. From the scrum we moved it to the left, and Callum did really well to clear up some sloppy handling, to put Duggy away, who ran in past three attempted tackles to score under the posts. 29-0, conversion missed.

Waterloo still kept their heads up and despite a strong run in by Harry, they defended well and forced a knock on from Hoppers. Strong work around the fringes by the Waterloo forwards required good defense, in particular a great tackle by Harvey.  The lads were soon into their stride, though, and the reworked forwards and backs dominating in all areas again. Following another win against the head, Harvey scored a ‘trademark’ try: he took the ball at pace from Adam at scrum half, straightening up and he broke trough the attempted tackles – once he was through he went into overdrive to speed clear to score under the post. 36-0 with a successful kick.

The tries now came thick and fast as Hoppers dominated. Straight from the kickoff the ball was recycled well and fed to Duggy on the burst in mid field, who ran though to feed Adam M who went in to score. 41-0, kick missed. Some excellent flowing rugby followed with great interchanges between the forwards and backs, and following good work by Ben on the left wing and on the forth phase of play, Lewis drove the ball in well and Hoppers nearly scored, just being thwarted resulting in a scrum to Waterloo under their own posts. Despite Waterloo winning the scum, Sam M broke quickly from flanker to charge down their clearing kick, the ball cannoning straight up in the air- who should field it but Duggy who was driven over by the Hoppers’ forwards to score. 46-0 with the kick missed.

The next score followed a period of dominance from Hoppers, particularly strong runs from Alastair, and some now uninhibited play from Hoppers, including a ‘basketball’ style feed from Duggy to Sam M in support, judged just forward. The next, flowing move from Hoppers summed up the performance. The forwards won the set scrum against the head, Duggy picked up from the base, looped with Adam who fed Harvey who straightened before feeding Ben – the try just stopped by a forward pass called.

Waterloo were still trying hard, and Oscar had to clear up on a couple of occasions from useful kicks. The Hoppers forwards were still too strong, and Jack put in several, storming runs, setting up second phases having broken the line, with only the slippy conditions thwarting another score as Harry supported well. Hoppers added to the score as Duggy picked up from 8, to break the line to feed Adam R, who dived over to score. 51-0. Kick missed.

Hoppers were now moving the ball at will and scored again after excellent handling in the backs putting Jake away to score on the left for his hat trick! 56-0. Conversion missed. Waterloo still were trying hard and had a period of possession, with a great tackle by Waterloo’s Ed pinning Hoppers back for a while in our 22. The last play saw Duggy display his raw power as he took the ball from the line out, and broke through many tackles to set up Oscar to finish the scoring and the match 61-0, conversion missed.

Another dominant performance by all the lads in the team, with every player looking strong in their personal match-ups. Waterloo tried very hard, but were well beaten. Thanks to the ref who managed the game very well, and to Waterloo for their hospitality afterwards. Back to the Cup next week!

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