Hoppers U13s 31 Southport U13s 7
After the minute’s silence for remembrance day, Hoppers kicked off and the early exchanges between the sides were balanced, but there was a dangerous run from Jake down the right hand side and the backs were defending well. Owen put in some storming runs and strong tackling and Andrew was showing well at full back fielding kicks well and returning strongly.
Hoppers backs continued to pressure the Southport line as they were getting a fair amount of ball, particularly Jake who pressured the opposition well. Hoppers were playing their usual expansive game, and there was good play by Owen, Tom, Jamie and Alastair forcing penalties through the pressure on the opposition team. Hoppers kept the pace of the game high, tapping and running penalties wherever possible.
The first try came eventually to Hoppers from Lewis but the conversion was missed, 5-0. Hoppers then had to do a lot of defending as Soutport pressed and did well with their forwards winning considerable possession. Eventually, somewhat against the run of play, Sam M fed the ball to Jake who outpaced the defence in an arcing run down the left wing to score, the conversion by Tom made the score 14-0.
Teo fielded the kickoff and ran back strongly, but Hoppers were still struggling to go through the phases and keep possession. Handling errors and some wayward kicking meant the game became a little scrappy. Hoppers were also putting themselves under pressure by not ensuring they cleaned up around the fringes. Again some good play by Andrew at full back, but weak play at the ruck led to an attack by Southport with Hoppers conceding to make it 14-7. An excellent conversion by Southport.
A good kick off by Teo put pressure on Southport as Hoppers came back – stung by the Southport try. Aaron made some good attacking runs and following a couple of tap penalties and powerful runs from Owen, Hoppers nearly replied right away. With the introduction of Harvey, Hoppers were now making more incisive runs in the backs, and the forwards were playing much better. there was no further score in the half, though.
Second half started with Southport kicking off, well fielded by Callum who fed Harvey. He ran straight and hard – his ‘trademark’ effort, and then fed Duggy to score down the middle, 21-7. Big assist to Harvey though!
Southport kicked off and came back with some strong attacks. Hoppers had to defend hard to keep the big Southport pack at bay, especially in set scrums. Matty C led the line with some strong work, but the forwards were not getting quick clean ball and the backs were often running too lateral although Tom kicked well off penalties. From a Hoppers lineout, Sam W caught the ball and fed Duggy as he peeled off and powered over to score, the conversion was missed, 26-7.
Southport kicked off again, finding touch on our 22. Harvey cleared the lines well and Southport were caught off side after his kick. Owen was putting in amazingly powerful runs, and unfortunately a Southport player was injured in a very brave attempt to tackle from the tap penalty.
Jack fielded the ball well from a Southport kick and after a 20 metre run fed Duggy who was unlucky not to extend Hoppers lead. Eventually, following a penalty to Hoppers, a good backs move nearly led to another try, but strong defence from Southport kept us out. Jack again was doing well at full back but Hoppers were having to work hard to make any headway.
Eventually, good play by Matty C, Duggy and general good forward play led to another try for Hoppers, Jake outflanking the defence to make it 31-7 after a missed conversion.
Hoppers kept the pressure on and Issac made a good run down the wing, only foiled by a good Southport tackle and, after a move down the left hand side, Hoppers were unlucky not to score. They were not having it all their own way though, and only a brilliant tackle near the sideline by Harvey saved a second try to Southport. Hoppers continued to defend on their own 22, Duggy lead a break out, just to be tap tackled before he could run completely clear.
Hoppers then relied a little too much on kicking, which was largely ineffectual and did not add further to the score. A good strong performance from Hoppers, though, against a very competitive Southport team with the score finishing 31-7 to Hoppers.