Hoppers U13s 32 Widnes U13s 0
Blacksticks Blue Challange Cup – Round 5. 16th December 2012.
In round five, Hoppers finally had a game ‘on’ in the Lancashire Cup. After the first two rounds where the opposition teams forfeited, then the match against Aspull frozen off, we had an ideal day for a rugby match. Hoppers were well aware that they needed to get the campaign started in today’s game and keep on track to win the group and qualify for the quarter finals.
There was the rarity of a dry, sunny and relatively warm day. Widnes kicked off in red and black, similar to the Saracens’ current kit with Hoppers in their smart new, numbered match shirts. Hoppers were playing up the slight slope, into the low sun.
Hoppers started well and moved the ball through the backs and through several phases, testing out the Widnes defense. The early exchanges were hard fought, with both sides defending well and trying to move the ball wide in attack. Hoppers put pressure on Widnes and won a penalty, but failed to make touch allowing them to run the ball back to half way.
Finally, Duggy broke the deadlock. From a tap penalty he took the ball at pace and then stormed down our left hand flank, through several attempts to stop him from Widnes players, and under the posts to score. 5-0, conversion missed.
The game was still highly competitive at this stage, with Hoppers playing well, with good rucking and continuity between forwards and backs. However, there were several missed kicks and Widnes were effectively putting pressure round the fringes. Hoppers were having to be effective in defense to hold Widnes, and this was exemplified by a ‘wonder’ tackle by Harvey. Widnes moved the ball quickly from a ruck, overloaded to their left side creating an overlap. Their backs exploited this well and put their winger away to run in to the corner. Harvey sped across from his stand off position, covering behind our back line, and with amazing commitment hit their winger just as he crossed the line in our right hand corner. As he hit him he used the winger’s own momentum to twist him into touch-in-goal before he could ground the ball. A potentially game changing moment at one score to nil.
Callum continued the excellent defense with great harrying of the Widnes backs, and the next try came soon after. The forwards took a great scrum against the head and the backs spun the ball quickly to our left, putting Jake into space. Jake did his ‘trademark’ arcing run to outflank the defense before scoring under the posts. 10-0 conversion missed again.
The third try followed a storming run by Lewis who fielded the ball off the kick off. He ran straight and hard, refusing to be stopped. Eventually, a high tackle felled him and gained Hoppers a penalty just outside Widnes’ 22. Owen took the ball in powerfully from the tap, pulling in the defense before eventually being stopped. The recycled ball was spun to the left wing and to Jake and he repeated his efforts to make the score 15-0. Conversion missed.
Back came Widnes and put good pressure on Hoppers again, rucking well and tackling the Hoppers backs strongly, closing down our attacks. Andrew showed good technique on the wing on several occasions, when stopped by strong Widnes defense he ensured he did not get isolated and presented the ball well for the next phase. Widnes had chances to score and an excellent break by the opposition No 10 was only thwarted by a great tackle by Owen. They continued the attack through several more phases with eventually Owen again saving the situation with a smother tackle putting the attacker into touch near our try line.
Hoppers added to the score with a great try. The ball was moved to the left through the backs after several attacks, though Callum had the ball he was outnumbered 2-3 in the back line. Rather than run down a blind alley, he cut back to the right outpacing and jinxing past the cover. It looked as though he was going to score a good individual try but was stopped with a last gap Widnes tackle. He presented the ball well and Lewis took the quick ball short, looking like he would score instead: good Widnes defense again stopped Lewis, but on the next phase Widnes ran out of defense on their right and Callum dived between two defenders to score the move he started. 20-0. Conversion missed, to end the first half in which Hoppers had played really well, and Widnes competed hard.
Hoppers made several changes at half time ensuring game time for all of the squad, but the strength in the squad these days means that this detracts little from the team. Hoppers kicked off and Widnes ran the ball back hard only to be tackled by Owen.
Hoppers were pressuring hard and after a kick through and harrying by the forwards, Duggy, Sam M and Owen, Sam M carried the ball into their half on our right flank. From the ensuing ruck the ball was spun to the left by the backs and we nearly scored in the left hand corner, only to get a penalty awarded. From the tap penalty Duggy powered straight in from close range to make the score 25-0. Duggy then made the conversion from right by the touch line- the first of the day to go over, and from the hardest position! 27-0.
The sixth try came just after Jake nearly scored his hat trick, but was just stopped down our left wing after a strong run. However, from the ensuing penalty Duggy ran in his hat trick to make it 32-0, conversion missed when Duggy hit the post from a really hard angle again.
Hoppers were now in complete control and were spinning the ball along the backs at every opportunity. The match ended at the behest of the Widnes Coach. Hoppers are now looking forward to the next round, away to Eccles which should be the decider to see who wins the group.