Hoppers sneak it at Caldy

Date: 11 December 2011

Caldy 18 – 20 Preston Grasshoppers

Hoppers won their third away game in a row and completed the season double over Caldy thanks to a powerful display from the forwards and a great effort by the whole team in defence. The backs also chipped in with two well taken tries as they showed they were more clinical in attack than their host who started the day second in the table.

Head Coach Dave Baldwin speaking after the match said; “first and foremost it’s great to get a win and especially here at Caldy who are going well in the league. It was a good performance and I was pleased with the effort and work rate from the guys. I thought we edged it on the day as we were able to use the wind to our advantage, even though we were a little sloppy at times but our defence was very good especially at the end of the game.”

Baldwin singled out some of the senior players for high praise as Rich Morton, Ali Atkinson and Wayne Steel really made a difference especially in the tight and stopped a physical Caldy pack from getting any real momentum, but it was the performance of one of the younger players that impressed the coach the most; “I thought Chris Gale was outstanding” Baldwin said “he was the best player on the pitch, he did well at the scrum and was extremely good in open play.”

In what was to be a low scoring first half all the points came in the opening five minutes as Andrew Soutar gave Caldy the lead with a penalty for a scrummaging offence only for Graham Holroyd to level the scores after Caldy were pinging for an offence at the ruck. It was an entertaining half none the less as both teams looked to move the ball wide on every occasion and it was only some great covering defence by both sides that kept the score at 3-3 going in to the break especially when Hoppers were adjudged to have been held up in goal when it appeared that a try had been scored.

Caldy started the second half brightly and after Soutar had converted a penalty to retake the lead their physical pack finally got the upper hand on Hoppers. With Morton shown a yellow card, which was a surprise even to home fans, Caldy were able to execute a catch and drive from a 5m line out with JJ Dickson grounding at the base, Soutar hit the post but Caldy had a 11-3 lead which looked strong in difficult conditions.

The try only seemed to spark Hoppers into life as they got their first try through Atkinson just minutes later as he powered over from close range after a 5m scrum had been taken up to the line by Connor Murphy and Hoppers took the lead after Murphy and Sean Taylor linked up well following a turn over and Holroyd put in a lovely weighted kick in goal which Phil Baines grounded.

Hoppers stretched their lead with ten minutes to go after a wayward pass lead to a Hoppers line out near the Caldy line and after the forwards had carried well the ball was swept wide where Holroyd, Sean Long and replacement Matt Gargett combined well to put Taylor in at the corner.

Caldy did score a late try to grab a deserved bonus point after opting to kick a routine penalty to touch and Jack Collister rounded off a well worked try. The host pilled on the pressure in the final minutes but a great defensive stand from Hoppers never allowed them past the 10m line and they eventually turned the ball over to seal the victory.

Taken with permission from www.rugbyroundup.com

Taken with permission from www.rugbyroundup.com


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