Friday Night Lights Delight for 5ths

Date: 27 February 2017

The 5ths playing on a second consecutive week on a Friday night on the new AGP pitch against Aspull 2s.

Words by Chris Nuttall.

With these two teams only played at Aspull only two weeks earlier which Aspull won with ease 65-5, the 5ths skipper Mick Mortimer was hoping for a better result. He had more numbers than usual available with some new faces being welcomed to the team.

The match got under way with DJ hanging a kick which dropped where he wanted. Both sets of forwards ripped into one another to try and gain the upper hand. Soon the first scrum was awarded to Preston, from a lineout not being straight by Aspull. The home side had pushed the Aspull pack backwards and the mercuric DJ cleared the ball down field with a mighty thump. Preston was dominating in the scrum with makeshift hooker Mick Mortimer, who is still tryless, winning three balls against the head and the pack pushing the Aspull side towards their own line. Hoppers soon had the first score of the game, after a continuous wave of pressure in the Aspull 22 the ball was held up in the in-goal area. The referee gave a scrum to Preston on the 5-metre line. Nuttall at 8 picked the ball up and ran left, and played a scissors move with DJ. Who then passed it on to scrum half Bobby Parker who scored untouched under the sticks to give the home side an early advantage after DJ had scored the conversion. Soon DJ had the score board ticking over with a penalty for hands in the ruck to make it 10 – 0 to the home side.

Aspull took offence at the score and applied some pressure of their own. Through mounted pressure Aspull soon had points on the board. They worked the ball to their winger who scored despite the home sides covering defence, their fly half missed the conversion. Aspull then added another score with some strong running through the middle had holes punched in the Preston defence. Through this they managed to get the ball over the line which the fly half duly converted. With the half time whistle approaching the away side smelling blood were deep in the Preston 22. Hoppers managed to steal the ball and was passed out to the effervescent winger Gary ‘Chesney’. He skipped round a couple of would be tacklers before going on a mesmerising run, with the covering defence coming in he touched the ball down in the corner. DJ slotted the conversion to give the advantage at half time with the score 17-12 lead.

The second half kicked off and the pace was just as intense as the first half. Both sets of forwards were ripping into each other and soon turning this into a battle of attrition. When Preston had the ball the calming influence of Marcus and Malcolm Mcdaid in the centres was giving DJ plenty of options. With both centres running through the gaps that was appearing in the Aspull defence. Soon Marcus scored his first try of the match with DJ giving it simple hands, he made fast yards and went round the fullback to score under the posts. DJ scored the simple conversion. After this came a period of knock ons and forward passes, from both teams. With neither side struggling to get a foothold in the game. Aspull managed to get some momentum going and again and was soon camped inside the 22. With the pressure mounting the away side duly scored under the posts which the fly half converted.

With the score at 24-19 the match was in the balance and Hoppers managed to get the crucial try. This time fullback Topping supported Mcdaid when he broke through the line. When Mcdaid was tackled, he managed to pop the ball to Topping who ran round the full back and managed to ground the ball. This time DJ missed the simple conversion. Marcus scored his second and virtually guarantee the victory to the home side. With neither side dominating the line out the Aspull side managed to steal a Hoppers lineout. The ball spilled and was bobbling around. Malcolm was the first person to react and hacked the ball forward, unfortunately the regather wasn’t a great success but the Preston side was around to support. The ball found its way to DJ who passed it onto Marcus who side stepped a couple of would be defenders and scored untouched. DJ missed the conversion to give the home side a very deserving and very hard fought 34-19 victory.

MoM – Ollie Topping as Marcus couldn’t claim it

Prat of the day – Swifty for getting injured in the warm up on what would have been his first start.

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