Date: 31 January 2018

Sale Sharks Division 5 North

Hoppers 5th XV 8-27 Aspull 2nd XV

By Micky Mortimer

(Intrepid Reporter providing a report so close to the action Kate Adie would have been impressed).

Saturday came and there was a heart stopping 10am phone call from John Powell. Would the game be on?

To everyone’s surprise after the lovely weather it was GAME On after the previous weekends game being off with the Hoppers 5ths welcoming Aspull 2nds to a damp but playable pitch 4 at Lightfoot Green.

The guests won the toss and took the shallow end, letting Hoppers kick off.

Ben (Ben10) Markland started the game for Hoppers with a great kick deep into Aspull’s territory with the home forwards following at great (?) pace.

It was soon apparent why Aspull are 3rd in the league and are a well drill side and soon had the ball wide to their winger who sprinted up the pitch straight passed Callum Burns who was still suffering from Friday nights enjoyments but able to do an admirable impression of a turnstile. Thankfully Aspull’s kicker wasn’t on his game.

The game restarted with the 5ths defending as Aspull came back even stronger using their forwards as battering rams gaining yards up the park. Hoppers held their own defending every inch of pitch 4 putting bodies on the line and gaining injuries in the process.

Ben (Trigger) Rigg leaving the park with a hand injury to be replaced by Lee (The Bull) Carruthers.

The 5ths found themselves camped in their own 5m area defending ruck after ruck to keep Aspull at bay for 8 phases until they finally crossed the whitewash.

Mark (Hobbit) Singleton being replaced by Pete Ingham due to giving it all and taking a knock to the neck.

Just before half time the Guests scored again with a driving scrum from the 5M line.

Half time Hoppers 0 Aspull 15

Captain Mortimer gathered his troops and imparted words of wisdom interspersed with a few “bollockings” and the game restarted.

Within a few minutes the Hoppers were attacking like their lives depended on it. With a penalty awarded for foul play at the ruck, Captain Mortimer put all his trust in his fly half Thomas (DJ) Davies by choosing to kick for goal. DJ converted with his usual style.

From the restart Hoppers wanted more. Big runs from Si Walmsley, stealing Aspull’s ball and cruising up the field with scrum half Eddie and Lee (the Bull) Caruthers in support smashing their way through with “The Bull” getting over the white wash only for the Ref not to give the try as he couldn’t see the grounding for bodies (where was Garth Dew with his drone when we needed a TMO…?)

With words from Captain Mortimer to calm the annoyed 5ths the game restarted with a scrum. This time The Bull wasn’t taking any prisoners battering his way over from the back off the scrum. The 5ths fight back was on.

Unfortunately, due to more injuries Hoppers let Aspull back in the game with Chris (Tbag) Tinsdale going off with a neck injury after flying out the back of a maul and head-butting Daniel (Kiwi) John in the groin. (No, we’ve no idea how either).

With 5 minutes to go scrum half Eddie took a knock and had to go off. At this point the 5ths thought Captain Mortimer had lost the plot when he offered to play 9 as The Hobbit returned to the field. Thankfully Ben (Ben10) Markland stepped up to become Ben9 with Singy taking to the flank and Dr Paul to the wing.

Aspull ran in yet another try just before full time to make the final score Hoppers 5ths 8 Aspull 2nd 27.

We might have lost the game but every one of the 5ths gave it 110%.

Special thanks to Willy Peel and Si Walmsley from the 6ths for pulling their boots on.

MOM the whole team for never giving up fighting to the end and showing the true meaning of social rugby.

DOD unanimously given to CALLUM BURNS for not being in a fit state to play.

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