Hoppers 2’s 100 Penrith 2s 8
Mark Edwards bagged 25 points as the second team ran in 16 tries against a spirited Penrith side. Hoppers reached three figures for the first time this season on a pleasant Autumn afternoon and maintained their place at the top of the Bateman Premier League.
Tom Smith who enjoyed a productive afternoon at inside centre opened the scoring after 2 minutes before two quick tries by Dougie Grimes. Connor Murphy then bagged his obligatory score following great work by Mabaya at a line-out. Hooker Phil Mills, who ended the game at outside centre, was then sin-binned for a Warburton dump tackle. Despite coasting into a 26 point lead, Hoppers had struggled to hit their straps and were making several unforced errors but losing a man appeared to galvanise the home side.
The livewire Niall Crossley, who would later have a hand in five tries scored one of his own after a turnover at the breakdown by Mills. Young Anthony Elliott then scored a fine try following slick hands by Crossley before Grimes completed his hat-trick. The home side turned round 41-0 to the good but acclerated after the break and were able to bust the gain line almost at will. Penrith, to their credit, kept fighting and their number 8 in particular continued to make some good yards. The Hoppers cover defence held firm though and repelled their visitors best efforts.
The returning Will Keenan then scored under the posts, quickly followed by a second for Elliott and a well deserved individual try for Mark Edwards. Mills, now at 13, bagged two tries which were seperated by a well worked try by Tom Smith, who hit a great line following soft hands by Wallace.
Hoppers broke the 80 point barrier with a try for Andy Napier, whose unseen work at the breakdown often goes without reward. Penrith then got on the board with a penalty after Hoppers were penalised in their 22. The visitors fightback continued when Loughy’s men were caught sleeping after the re-start. The Penrith winger went over in the corner, although had a TMO been available the score may have ruled out.
Tom Smith then completed his hat-trick with an excellent individual try and he was all set to snare his fourth but he allowed replacement hooker Bradley Tuff to claim the touchdown. Tuff’s try took Hoppers to three figures, a rare feat at any level.
Hoppers haven’t been thoroughly tested since the opening game of the season but have an away trip to Lymm to prepare for this week. The men from Cheshire usually provide a stiff test at home but Hoppers will be intent on preserving their epic start.