Hoppers U13s v Sefton

Date: 24 February 2013

Hoppers 32 Sefton 10

The conditions were, for once, ideal with a dry pitch and a bright, if cool, day. The half term again reduced both squads’ numbers, but the lads warmed up well and seemed keen to kick off. Hoppers did the honours, with Teo on kicking duty.

Sefton started the stronger and brighter, dominating possession for the first five minutes with several bright attacks. This culminated in a break away by one of their strong backs, running though a couple of attempted Hoppers tackles and going for the line. Lewis though showed great pace and commitment to chase him down and ‘scrag tackle’ him, preventing him from grounding the ball. Hoppers then contested the ruck well and won a penalty to relieve the pressure.

After the clearing kick, Harvey then broke well to clear the lines, setting up a ruck with the ball shifted to the right. A great loop move between Andrew and Jamie in mid field stretched their defence, before the ball was recyled and then Sam W put through the back’s hands to Charlie on the Hoppers left wing. Charlie showed good pace to touch down and make the score 5-0, conversion missed from out wide.

This seemed to galvanize Hoppers, and from the kick off Owen ran back dangerously to set up another attack on our left, just stopped by Sefton. Pressure was now put on Sefton and they were lucky to escape conceding another try when Alastair charged down an attempted clearance kick. Hoppers extended their lead, though, after another good backs move saw Harvey loop in midfield, and then straighten his line to drive over under the posts – taking out a Sefton defender in the process knocking him 2 metres back over his own line. 12-0 conversion made by Charlie.

Sefton worked hard to get back into the game and launched several dangerous attacks, stopped by good Hoppers’ defense, notably Harvey who put in a major defensive stint. They got their reward after a breakaway through the middle and, despite another heroic effort from Lewis covering back, they got their first try, 12-5, conversion missed. Sefton were gaining in confidence all the time, and their impressive centre stripped the ball from our possession in the backs, and went over under the posts, 12-10. Luckily for Hoppers the conversion was missed, so they went in to half time just leading.

The second half was started by a Sefton kick off, with them now playing down the slight slope. Hoppers seemed to be stirred by the half time team talk and the first ruck saw a great clean out by Adam securing quick ball. Hoppers threatened straight away with two attacks down our left wing by Charlie, but he was just stopped on each occasion. A good attacking position was set up by pressure on the Sefton attack, Sam W putting Alastair away on a good run. Hoppers finally made the territory pay dividends when they scored their third try. Hoppers had a number of drives for the line by Alastair, then Owen and Harvey, and Sefton were pinged for hands in the ruck. Hoppers though used the advantage played by the ref, with Sam W driving over to score. 17-10 with the conversion missed.

This settled Hoppers and they started to dominate the possession and attacking, though they still needed to keep the defensive work up and there was a great tackle by Jamie on his opposite number. Hoppers now started to go though the phases and after a great run by Andrew on the right wing, who set well for quick ball, Hoppers had a good chance down the left. Both sides were now defending well and the game went through a scrappy phase. Hoppers stretched their lead, though, with a try by Jamie. A free kick was moved well to the backs by Ollie, after shaping up to pop the ball for a forward drive, and when it got to Jamie he had far too much speed for the cover, scoring wide on our right hand side. 22-10 with the conversion missed.

Hoppers were now dominating as Sefton ran out of steam a little and Hoppers scored again straight from the kick off – probably the best score of the day. Sam W caught the ball from the kick off and powered down the right flank. He fed Owen who then timed the pass to perfection, putting Harvey away into space on the right wing. Harvey cut infield around their 22m line and looked as through he would score. Good defence by Sefton stopped him but he offloaded to a supporting player, who then offloaded to Lewis who powered over to score. 27-10, conversion missed.

Hoppers were now in complete control and finished the game with another good try. They went through several phases with the forwards finally getting supremacy and giving quick ball at the rucks. The ball was moved along the line and after attempts to break by Ollie and then Owen the ball finally was moved to Charlie on the left wing, who outpaced the cover to score. He started and finished the scoring with his two tries. 32-10, conversion missed making this the final score.

The match was played in a great spirit by both teams, and was really closely matched in the first half. Hoppers are now looking forward to their Blacksticks Blue quarter final next week at home against Manchester.

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