Ormskirk U13s 5 Hoppers U13s 82
That the match was still on, was somewhat of a miracle as the current weather seems to either be wet and unplayable or frozen and unplayable! The day was also improving and, after a wet start to the morning, the conditions were actually quite good, with a solid pitch underfoot and even some sun in the second half of the match! Hoppers had a good turn out again with over 20 players in the away squad – we had to have several players playing for Ormskirk as they are going through a rebuilding phase and had players unavailable.
Hoppers kicked off and were immediately on the attack with a short kick by Kieran catching Ormskirk unaware. Harvey made up the ground very quickly and recovered the ball, making a jinxing run before being halted- he popped the ball up to Sam M in support who made another 10 meters before going to ground and setting the ball. Excellent, quick ball was fed out by Ollie, playing at scrum half, to the Hoppers right and went accurately through all the backs’ hands to Jake on the wing who powered over for the first try. 5-0 to Hoppers. The conversion was missed narrowly from a difficult angle.
Immediately from the kick off, which was well fielded by Sam W, Hoppers attacked again with Owen making a very powerful drive down our right hand side before flicking the ball out to Jake to run in his second try in as many minutes. Kieran converted an excellent kick from wide on the right, beyond his 22 to make the angle. The crowd had not believed he had a chance with the conversion, which cost RB a fiver! Ye of little faith! 12-0.
Ormskirk were a bit shell shocked after this great start by Hoppers, however they began to get a bit of the ball and their tight scrum was working well. However, Hoppers defended strongly and Ormskirk made no real headway. Hoppers then scored again following a break from their own 22 and a scrum won against the head. Sam W ran well before feeding Kieran who broke down our right again- rather than run into the corner he drew the defense and fed Harvey with a hard flat pass. Harvey had supported brilliantly in the inside channel and a difficult take in the conditions by Harvey enabled him to go under the posts for the third try. 19-0 after conversion was put over by Kieran.
Hoppers now were completely dominating, and a strong run by Alastair down our left side was only stopped by good Ormskirk defense putting him into touch. It was only a matter of time before the forth try was scored. From the Ormskirk line out, Duggy leapt higher than anyone and took the throw out of the air; he then ran right through the defense to score under the posts. 26-0 after another conversion by Kieran. The fifth try followed soon after when Owen took the ball straight from the kick off and powered up the field though the whole defense score. 31-0. The sixth try followed quickly afterwards, giving Jake his hat trick and make the score 38-0 after another conversion by Kieran.
Hoppers were now totally dominant and playing though the phases, getting quick ball from the base with Ollie B and moving the ball quickly down the line. After a phase though the back’s hands down the left, then next phase down the right, Hoppers nearly scored again, just stopped in their 22 by the valiant Ormskirk defense, who kept on trying to match the rampant Hoppers team. The respite was short lived, though, as Hoppers ran in the seventh: a backs move to our right nearly put Jake in yet again, but he unselfishly fed the ball back inside, with the cover stopping the move. The forwards, though, drove in twice, before Ollie B dived over from the base of the ruck, the scrambling defense having been sucked in again and again to created the space. 43-0 with a difficult kick missed.
Ormskirk were still holding their own in the set scrum, but Hoppers scored again soon after. Harvey saw acres of space behind the Ormskirk line and kicked the ball through from his own 10 metre line. Showing great pace he got to the ball just as the Ormskirk player fell on the ball. With great technique, he waited until the player set the ball back and then ripped it off him as the first player in (if he had dived in to tackle he would have been penalized for killing the ball). After a couple of drives in by the forwards, the ball was fed out to Jamie, who dummied a pass to Jake and went over himself to score the eighth. 48-0, conversion missed.
Half time score 48-0 and the game was over as a contest well before. However, Hoppers had shown some great play and technique, particularly the handling and timing of passing in midfield (Harvey, Callum, Jamie and Kieran) to get the wide players away to create chances and stretch the defense. Of course, this has to be built on forwards competing and supplying good, quick ball. Hoppers made further changes at half time to strengthen the opposition to make a more meaningful contest.
The sun had now come out, but a biting wind had got up making the crowd cold, even if the players seemed not to notice! The changes had shored up the Ormskirk defence, with Duggy making a few good hits on Hoppers players. However, the first try of the half came for Hoppers after a kick through by Kieran and good defensive harrying by Sam W and Sam R, eventually Matty C received the ball mid way along the line on the right hand side. He ran at the inside shoulder of the defender outside him and the gap opened up to touch down for the ninth try, 53-0. Conversion missed.
The game though was now much more of a contest and Ormskirk put their first points on the board. Not content with his hat trick for Hoppers in the first half, Jake score a great opportunist try. He rushed in to get the ball to take a quick tap kick (benefit of the doubt that the kick left his hand Ross!) and outpaced the Hoppers defense right down the middle from 30 metres out. 53-5.
Hoppers, though, added to their score shortly afterwards. Ormskirk attacked well, with Duggy carrying, cutting inside Kieran only to be felled by Adam. From the loose ball Kieran gathered ran back strongly down the middle to score 58-5. This was followed by a great long range try by Hoppers, started in our 25. Duggy had again run hard into the Hoppers half, but good work by the forwards competing at the breakdown led to Sam M running in and setting the ball well. Strong drives by Adam and James G made good ground, and then the ball was then swung to the left. Excellent interplay then followed by Kieran, Harvey and Teo (who had a super game on the left wing) before Kieran went over for Hopper’s tenth to make the score 63-5. Conversion missed.
The game was now losing a bit of its shape, as it seemed more like sevens everyone trying to offload and keep the ball alive. Hoppers needed to keep their structure utilizing the forward to get quick ball, but after the opposition forwards had committed players to the breakdown. After such a set piece, the ball broke down the left and Teo on the wing cut back inside to commit the Ormskirk backs, before feeding Kieran on the loop. Kieran then ran the ball in to make the score 68-5.
Hoppers added another to make the score 75-5. Callum ran a good move near their line and Kieran nearly went over for his hat trick but was stopped short. They turned the ball over but Jamie pressured Ormskirk well in midfield and, as we attached again, we scored with a powerful run by a fired up Owen taking the try under the sticks. Conversion successful by Kieran making the final score 82-5.
Well done to everyone for some really entertaining rugby, to the Hoppers players who turned out for Ormskirk and to the ref who was anonymous all the way though the match – got to be a good thing! There was an obvious gulf between the sides, but hopefully the match helps with Ormskirk’s development as their lads were a credit to their club even though they were getting well beaten. They tried to the end, and never showed anything but respect for the ref and opposition.