Hoppers Ladies Move to 2nd in the League

Date: 25 October 2017

Hoppers ladies, continued their impressive form, winning at home 31-5 to a tenacious Chester side battling for due reward so far this season. With 3 wins from 4 in the league, the girls move to second spot behind leaders Didsbury who remain unbeaten. With injured players now returning the squad is looking stronger by the day and performing better with each test.

By Steve Tiernan

With Brian becoming more of a wisp than a storm, the ladies gathered for this league fixture against Chester Devas confident from the cup victory over Kendal in the previous week. Chester, languishing bottom of the league have yet to pick up a win however, only the foolhardy wold be complacent against these girls from Hope lane as having played them on the 7s circuit, Hoppers knew they could pose a threat as teams that may lack consistency, always have a winning performance somewhere along the line. With our new sponsor, Whittles of Preston supporting us enthusiastically from the side lines this week, the girls took to the field confident, wanting to show that such support deserves a winning performance.

The game started slowly for Hoppers with Chester starting brighter, living off some handling errors from the home side. Hoppers continued to exert pressure on themselves, giving the away side more opportunities to strike first. However, Hoppers did defend strongly and after being under pressure for about 20 mins, Hopper started to settle, regaining some shape and much needed possession. With the forwards starting to build confidence, the phases started to flow and Hoppers turned up the tap on Chester, culminating in the first try after some precipitous footwork from Georgia Wilson, standing in at Fly-Half, put her over the line. With the conversion just wide from Alison Taberner, Hoppers lead 5-0. A Further try came from the rampaging Sarah Lovejoy who after consistently testing the Chester Defence, finally got due reward and broke through to score. Again, Taberner stepped up but slotted the conversion and Hoppers now led 12-0. A further try came from Alison herself as she danced into the corner after some confident handling work between Christina Tully and Winger, Katherine Lang found her storming into the space out wide. The subsequent kick just brushed the upright and fell wide. Hoppers finished the half, 17-0 ahead.

The half time chat was simple from the coaches and the girls responded well, identifying themselves what they needed to improve on and the confidence from the previous week had returned. Although further minor knocks to Captain Mollie Paling and England Deaf Full Back Christina Tully at half time meant they had to retire, it gave opportunity to the exciting talents of Lisa Jones and the returning Becky Ingham to slot into outside centre and scrum half respectively. Scrum Half Stephanie Grey gallantly stepped into the back row to replace Mollie at 6.

The second half started well, with Hoppers in complete control. The forwards, sticking to the game plan, retained the ball very well giving Becky Ingham an easy ride at the back of the breakdown. Georgia Wilson, playing well at 10, was running the show at this point, changing the point of attack along the now tiring Chester defence. With Georgia, Becky, Sarah, Lisa and both Wingers Katherine and Olivia Jack moving the ball quickly, Chesters defence struggled to cope, finally breaking when returning hero Kate Hamilton, coming on for Sarah Boaler took her first touch and battled through to score a great try, just left of the sticks. Taberner stepped up and hit the jackpot, stretching Hoppers lead to 24-0. The half proceeded as before, with some relentless attacks from Hoppers coming in from all corners of the field, again culminating in a second try from Kate, who again, drove through to score. Taberner again, slotted the bonus and Hoppers comfortably led 31-0. With a chance to bring on more replacements, Hoppers Rachel Dennison, Katie Singleton and the rookie Victoria Kenyon came on and each one impressed greatly, with Victoria not looking out of place on the wing, repelling two Chester attacks through some strong tackling.

Chester, determined not to go away without a score, battled hard in the final five minutes, pushing Hoppers onto their back foot and into their own 22. After some frantic phases of rugby, Chester got a break and found space down the middle to score in the dying seconds. With the conversion missed, the final whistle went and Hoppers won 31-5, securing a Bonus Try point and Second in the league.

Hoppers have a well-earned break this week before travelling to the Isle of Man to face the Vagabounds of Douglas in what will be a tough encounter on the 4th November.

Hoppers would also like to thank there sponsor, Whittles of Preston for coming down and showing some enthusiastic and greatly appreciated support. We look forward to seeing you again.

Hoppers XV: Emma Pooley, Kelly Singleton, Sarah Boaler, Michelle Christy, Becky Boaler, Mollie Paling, Hayley Ciotkowski, Danielle Nash, Stephanie Grey, Georgia Wilson, Olivia Jack, Sarah Lovejoy, Christina Tully, Katherine Lang, Alison Taberner.

Game Changers: Kate Hamilton, Becky Ingham, Katie Singleton, Rachel Dennison, Lisa-Marie Jones, Victoria Kenyon, Kira Hope-Baines

Forward of the Match: Kate Hamilton

Back of the Match: Georgia Wilson

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