Hoppers 12 – 29 Chester

Date: 08 January 2017

Preston Grasshoppers started 2017 with a disappointing defeat against Chester at Lightfoot Green.

Hoppers head-coach Garth Dew reflected: “Before the game, we said we had to be disciplined, accurate with our skillset and bring intensity. We gave away four very soft penalties which led to four tries.

“The work-rate and effort is there, but there’s a distinct lack of game management on the field. We’re in danger of drifting away at the bottom if we can’t execute the basic principles of rugby, but we’ll stay positive and try to find solutions in training.”

In testing conditions, both sides struggled to gain any early momentum in the opening quarter.

Chester opened the scoring after building up numerous phases which resulted in Colin Campbell crossing the whitewash for a simple try, with Callum Bennett converting to add to his early penalty which gave the visitors a 10-0 lead.

Hoppers narrowed that gap on 25 minutes courtesy of Will Lees. The flanker did well to break the gainline and go straight through some weak Chester defending, with Lewis Allen slotting the conversion.

Just three minutes later, Chester extended their lead once again. Shaun Strudwick ghosted past some poor Hoppers defenders and simple hands put Kyle Joseph in out wide, to make the scores 7-15 at half-time.

Two minutes after the interval Chester put the result beyond doubt when Liam Gill crossed the whitewash from a driving maul.

Hoppers then spent the next quarter trying to break down Chester’s resolute defence, but handling errors and poor decision making cost the hosts from scoring.

Chester then flexed their muscles and raced away for their bonus-point try, with Craig Ross finishing off a well worked attacking move.

Hoppers did have the final say when Billy Woof dotted down in the corner, but there was no time left on the clock to spark a comeback.

Pictured is Will Lees crossing for Hoppers’ first try. Photo by Mike Craig.

Words by Henry Woodsford.


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