They always say it hurts before it gets better and if that’s the case, Hoppers Ladies will not want to experience again, the pain of the defeat they had last Sunday.
By Steve Tiernan
After two strong performances against Carlisle and neighbours Garstang, the girls were buoyant going away to Crewe and Nantwich. With more players missing through injury and unavailability, the side was still strong and the focus was on winning the first on the road this season. Unfortunately this was not to be and Hoppers fell 40-0 after quite a physical encounter which ended up with two of our ladies requiring emergency hospital treatment.
The game started at a frantic pace and before long the Hoppers forwards where battling intense pressure around the breakdown as the C&N pack where simply quicker and lower over the ball. With this intensity, Hoppers defended well for 12 minutes until C&N broke the deadlock, taking advantage of a stretched hoppers defensive line. With the conversion good, Hoppers were behind 7-0. Soon after this, the Hoppers back row, Natasha Ward, took a blow to the side of the temple which resulted in her being immediately removed and assessed. On came replacement, Bronwyn Kelly who after 45 seconds fell badly in contact and had to be immobilised with a suspected broken ankle. With the coaches and medics dealing with two quite serious injuries, the game was stopped and the game moved to another pitch after some quick rearranging of the hoppers side. Both girls, I am glad to say, are recovering well with concussion and a badly sprained ankle.
The game restarted with C&N keeping the same pressure around the fringes of the breakdown and Hoppers valiantly defended, with some real ‘bodies on the line stuff’. Again, C&N broke the gain line and scored under the posts and with the conversion good, Hoppers found themselves quickly 14-0 down after 25 minutes of play. Hoppers responded by working hard to retain possession and to break the C&N defence. With the pack managing to steal some great ball in the breakdown, it still wasn’t enough as C&N went over again, again breaching a stretched defensive line. The game continued and with hoppers finding dominance in the lineout, C&N could only try and disrupt it by taking out lifters when jumpers where still in the air. The game finally finished 40-0 to C&N and if honest, the disappointment and frustration after the game hurt deep, albeit a hard lesson to learn.
Everyone involved took something away from the game to work on and improve and improve they will, as the ladies out there were true warriors and never gave up. That disappointment should now turn to a hunger to put things right this weekend in the Cup against Kendal Wasps, languishing bottom of the league above. If ever a game was made to lift a side after a defeat, this is the one to get back on track!
Up the Hoppers!
Starting XV: Becky Brown, Emma Pooley, Sarah Boaler, Kira Hope-Baines, Charley Brun, Natasha Ward, Mollie Paling, Danielle Nash, Heather Creighton, Kady Hall, Olivia Jack, Sarah Lovejoy, Jen Milner, Dawn Jones, Christina Tully.
Replacements: Lisa-Marie Jones, Bronwyn Kelly, Theo Rushton-Marsh, Rachel Dennison, Ruth Yates, Katie-Jane Singleton, Victoria Kenyon.
Forward of the Match award: Emma Pooley
Back of the Match award: Sarah Lovejoy
Next Fixture: Cup Game. Home Vs. Kendal Wasps, Sunday 15th October, KO 3pm