Hoppers 2nd XV 45 Vale of Lune 2nd XV 7
A much changed and youthful second team put Vale to the sword on a mild and sunny afternoon at Lightfoot Green.
Vale entered the fixture on a high having dumped Sedgley Tigers out of the cup last weekend but they failed to impose themselves in anyway on the fixture. Hoppers were the more organised whilst the visitors struggled to cope with the pace and guile of the home side’s backs.
Woof opened the scoring after three minutes following some good work by Whyte and the Hoppers pack. Debutant Ward, who contributed a man of the match performance added the extras.
A typically powerful surge by Elliott and some fine hands by Woof and Reddick led to Rhodes-Powers adding the second try of the afternoon. Just three minutes later Hoppers had a nineteen point lead as Rhodes-Powers finished off some fine interplay involving Woof, Ward and Reddick.
A lull in the scoring followed and Richard Wardle was sent to the sin bin for Hoppers. The young second row felt aggrieved at being on the end of some foul play but the referee was unwilling to tolerate the retribution that he sought.
The disadvantage didn’t affect Hoppers as some excellent work by Elliott and Ward saw Marshall cross the whitewash. Ward struck the conversion and Hoppers were 26-0 ahead.
Shortly after play resumed for the second half Rhodes Powers completed his hat trick, with Woof and Ward again heavily involved.
Hoppers were soon 38 points ahead as some slack tackling by Vale let Elliott beat a number of defenders to score. Ward’s conversion was wide but Hoppers were home and dry.
The visitors then enjoyed a spell of pressure but Hoppers defended their line well with Banks winning a hard fought turnover. Preston’s final try came from replacement Farley who was making his return from a spell on the sidelines.
Frustratingly for Hoppers they were unable to keep a clean sheet as fatigue set in. Vale finally breached the Hoppers line but the home side can be satisfied with their efforts. Given the injury list that has hit Lightfoot Green this last couple of weeks it was a rewarding result.