Given that Hoppers 6th had received a 69 – 7 drubbing earlier in the season the thought of facing Blackburn again straight after the Christmas break was faced with some trepidation. Blackburn are a strong side who are only in League 5 due to a higher team defaulting in previous years. However Hoppers always rise to a challenge and this was no exception. Hoppers kicked off and absorbed an early charge from the (very large) Blackburn forwards. Hoppers tackling was strong and the team soon settled down winning some good turn over ball.
In attack Hoppers looked dangerous and were able to put a lot of pressure on the Blackburn line. Passing and general backs play was excellent. As the first half progressed Hopper began to dominate much of the game keeping play in the Blackburn 22 and when the ball did move in the Hopper half the impressive boot of the Hopper fly half, Jake (don’t know is surname!) soon removed the threat. The first slip came after about 30 minutes when some slick passing from the Blackburn backs broke the Hoppers line.
0 – 7 at half time.
Blackburn clearly stepped up a gear after the break, the pressure intensified and the balance of play moved into the Hoppers 22. There was no giving up. Hoppers kept the tackles going in but Blackburn proved very effective in stopping the quick ball and restricting Hoppers backs. The second Blackburn try came soon after the break with some sublime handling, forwards and backs keeping the ball alive producing what was must be one of the best try’s in league five this season. At least ten players were involved in the move. Hoppers kept fighting and eventually the reward came with a superb solo effort from Hopper new boy Oliver (don’t know his name either!!). As both teams tired Blackburn worked a couple more tries through their pack. The score line may suggest a one sided encounter, it was certainly not that. A very enjoyable game played by two sides out to enjoy their Saturday afternoon rugby with a great spirit all round.
Hopper 6th XV 5-24 Blackburn 3rd XV