Photograph courtesy of Mike Craig
HULL 30 PRESTON GRASSHOPPERS 21
Preston Grasshoppers fell to defeat at the hands of a Hull side who out muscled and over powered them. Hoppers showed their creativity and strike power at times but where denied good quick ball by the physical and well drilled hosts who used their set piece as a potent weapon both in attack and defence.
Head Coach Dave Baldwin was disappointed with the result as he saw it as a game they could have won; “I think in the second half after we scored to go 21-18 up we should have kicked on and won the game, but old habits crept back in to our play, like unforced errors, a poor line out and restarts and with our scrum under pressure we struggled. We were not able to keep possession and while I encourage players to try to offload and play high tempo game it has to be in the right areas.”
It wasn’t all doom and gloom though and he pointed to good individual performances, especially from newcomers Alex Austin and Killian Wallace.
Hoppers started the game well and should have taken the lead inside the first minute as Austin cut a great line through the home defence and raced to the try line but was adjudged to have been held up in goal by the officials when players and spectators were convinced of a try. Graham Holroyd did give Hoppers the lead from a well struck penalty after five minutes but Hull gradually grew in to the game through the forwards and their impressive set piece.
It was a well worked line out move that gave the hosts the lead as the ball was whipped off the top and a nice line by centre Steve Slingsby cut straight through the defence to score under the posts untouched.
Hull increased their lead mid way through the half, again from a line out but this time it was the catch and drive that Hoppers couldn’t handle with Rob Devonshire touching down.
Holroyd then added two penalties to bring the score back to a three point deficit but Cameron struck a penalty of his own right on half time to send Hull in with a 15-9 lead.
Hoppers started the second half just like the first as a great break from Austin this time lead to a try as his well timed pass put Wallace in space who showed good pace to run in from 30 yards out.
Hull took the lead back with another Cameron penalty but a superb solo effort down the left wing from Phil Baines grabbed the lead back for Hoppers with the inform winger showing good pace and strength to fight through a try line tackle.
It wasn’t to be though as late tries from replacement Will Robinson, who showed real pace down the left wing, and Alex Piercy who benefitted from a lucky bounce from a cross field kick won the game for Hull and denied Hoppers what would have been a deserved bonus point.
The following statistics are taken from www.rugbyroundup.com.