Hoppers U13s 48 Huddersfield U13s 5
That the match was still on was a miracle in itself, with rain solidly falling for the previous 12 hours on an already sodden pitch. Just as the teams kicked off the heavens opened again, making conditions even worse.
Hoppers kicked off and, in a sign of things to come, the ball dropped and sank into the ground, with Kieran’s kick not going 10 metres. The initial stages were well contested with both sides playing well. A great attack by Hoppers was started by Kieran fielding a Huddersfield clearance at full back and running back strongly. He fed to Jake on the Hoppers left wing who, when caught by the impressive Huddersfield right wing, set the ball up well to be recycled for quick ball. The move then swept to the right with Harvey straightening up and feeding Duggy who was just stopped on the Hoppers right near to the try line by a committed Huddersfield defence. Considering the conditions there was excellent play from both sides!
Hoppers started to dominate the possession and the first try came after a solid scrum provided a great platform for an attack by the backs to Hoppers left. Ollie fed from scrum half with the ball handled really well through all the backs to Jamie. Jamie timed the pass to perfection, putting Jake away on the left wing to make the score 5-0, with the conversion missed.
From the kick off Kieran ran the ball back splitting the Huddersfield defence before feeding on to the support, with the ball passing one way then the other with good continuity of phases provided by the forwards. The ball then went to Duggy who took the ball down the middle feeding to Harvey who straightened the backs’ attack in midfield, allowing Lewis to feed Jamie to score in the right hand corner, 10-0 with the kick missed again.
Hoppers were now dominant in all areas of play, but Huddersfield to their credit kept working hard and continued to make it a good competitive game. Jake had another attempt down the left hand wing, but was tackled well again by the Huddersfield right wing (Sam?). Given the conditions Hoppers were moving the ball and handling really well. Hoppers were foiled again on the left wing after a great move with the ball passing through the backs – Ollie, Callum, Jake, Kieran then Jamie and another good tackle on our left side by Huddersfield. The forwards were also dominating the breakdown, and putting good pressure on the Huddersfield team, with Sam M nearly charging down a kick near the Huddersfield line, with then just managing to find touch with another kick.
From the line out came probably the move and try of the match. Brilliant thinking from Kieran who took the quick line out, feeding Harvey who ran straight and hard, before feeding the ball back to Kieran. He then moved the ball to Jamie who was stopped by excellent Huddersfield defence on the line. The following scrum was won by Hoppers and fed to midfield and as the Huddersfield backs moved up fast, Callum took the ball at pace from Harvey to drive over to score, with just the hint of a ‘show and go’ to create the gap. Really excellent rugby from both sides, the try was converted by Kieran to make the score 17-0.
Huddersfield continued to battle, with a couple of strong attacks, but just as they were starting to get back into the game Kieran intercepted a pass in the Huddersfield midfield and raced away to score under the posts. He converted his own try to make the score 24-0.
There was now driving rain and the conditions were really foul. Hoppers continued to play expansive rugby despite this and showed excellent handling skills, notably a pick up by Keiran as the ball died at his feet, and the general forward play in the tight situations. Huddesfield made more handling errors, but this was due to some strong pressure from Hoppers as much as the conditions.
After some flowing play again by the backs, Sam M drove for the line near the Huddersfield right corner. He was stopped just short but recycled well and the ball went through a couple more attacking phases before Duggy drove over under the posts to make the score 31-0 after the conversion by Kieran.
Back again came Huddersfield with several attacks and a dangerous penalty near our line after a high tackle. Hoppers continued to pressure Huddersfield as they tried to attack and Harvey finally relieved the pressure with a good run out of defence, followed by a clearance kick from Kieran to fully relieve the pressure. Kieran scored again following a poor clearing kick from defence by Huddersfield to make the score 38-0 as he also converted his own score. As the half time whistle blew the sun came out, transforming the day with blue skies!
Second half saw Hoppers make a large number of changes to the side, and they took a while to get back to the dominant performance of the first half. Huddersfield came back into the game somewhat but Hoppers soon regained their dominance, with strong play and pressure in the backs, notable Aaron and Andrew as they fitted into a changed back line. Also a great move in midfield with Teo feeding Kieran as he came into the line from full back nearly led to the first score of the second half.
Hoppers were still spreading the ball well and Jack was unlucky not to score after strong runs twice on the left hand wing, one ending in a high tackle and penalty to Hoppers. After kicking to the corner and a period of forward play near their line, Sam W took the ball from a maul and drove over on the blind side to score, conversion missed, 43-0.
Lewis was unlucky to have a try scrubbed following a very direct and powerful run to the line, but the whistle had gone as a player was injured in the earlier part of the move. Alastair was also unlucky not to score but was just held up over the line on the Hoppers left hand side, but following a penalty to Hoppers, Alastair drove over to score, making it 48-0 with the conversion missed as the wind blew the ball off the tee! Sam W was unlucky not to add to the score after another strong run from him, but it was Huddersfield who had the final effort.
Huddersfield never gave up and as the ball came out of the back of a Hoppers ruck, the Huddersfield player picked up and ran well to score. Conversion missed, final score Hoppers 48, Huddersfield 5. Considering the conditions some excellent rugby was played by both sides and all the lads should be proud of their efforts.