Hoppers 15 Ormskirk 5
Fireflies 15 Ormskirk 0
Happy “Movember” to all those participating in this unique opportunity to bring 70’s styled haircuts and sideburn management to the forefront of male grooming across the UK. With this in mind, consideration has been given for the coaches to endorse this theme to aid the development of the boys by growing their facial hair until such a point that a bright, controlled, and dominant first half performance is seen. I am proud to announce that this scheme lasted for the heady heights of 1 and a half minutes following today’s performance against a committed and consistently improving Ormskirk side.
The assumed slow start and low tackling strength was replaced by committed, enduring and controlled team effort. Whilst the observant hoards of “Grasshopper-ites” were discussing the merits of warm winter clothing the Hoppers pack were showing the world what can happen with a dominant ruck and maul, with a hint of swift pacey passing through the back line.
It is at this point I would like to note that through both games against our opposition the team were so uniformly excellent at both forward and back attacking/defensive play it would seem unfair to position in our psyche individual names – Today the team was the winner.
Anyway, continued forward dominance and attainment of good ruck and maul ball, allowed for the half backs to distribute quick ball for the backs to attack the inevitable spaces that were going to form with good forward (as in not lateral) movement. Back row, front row, fly half to full back seemed to co-ordinate the attacking play with gusto; with only the shortest of moments where the focus was on individual brilliance and more team effectiveness. Winning the game was only the most minor of the many good points to note through this encounter; the manner, team effort and selfless tackling/running had appeared to dispel all of the worries of past games and brought us firmly in line with the new team spirit that will surely propel us to the top of the county ladder in due course.
Onto game two – Surely this couldn’t be a good! Surely! How wrong we could be again. A slower start with some of the (I believe it was described as locomotion defensive line; yes as in the song and subsequent dance dedicated to the Pied Piper) concerns from previous encounters were our opening gift to their team allowing the opportunity to put pressure on our defensive line and push the scoreboard in the oppositions direction.
Then the “miracle” began. With chins raised and boots firmly laced the forwards entered a period by which each line out and scrum was won irrespective of attacking team. These victories in the front row are rarely praised enough in the modern game (Despite me being a quintessential back player!), but the whites front row took no prisoners in driving our perky opponents away from even their own put in. Gentlemen take a bow it was positively croaky voice enduringly brilliant.
Despite some “different” defensive positions from the backs; the flow of committed tackling and fearless tracking back allowed the boys to once again take quick ball – Stealing a few in the process – and striding towards the opposition try line with the assuredness of even the most robust of some of our other bogey teams (Warrington and Waterloo like). In fact despite the absence of an accurate score summary it was the whites precision finishing in the second half that assured a higher try ratio that their comrades from the previous game in green.
It would be safe to assume that all the coaches were delighted at the performance and precision of the two teams; and put it to all the “Hopper-ites” that a sweet based confection would be an appropriate reward for their efforts.
Hang on…..No wait a moment. The whites versus Greens game is yet to be covered. I’m not sure if it is out of respect for their teammates, generalised fatigue and injury or simply lack of conviction; but this encounter was everything that the preceding two games was not. The assured confident carrying and scrimmaging/mauling/rucking of the forwards was replaced by a limp, uninspiring and often more “Benny Hill” than “Richard Hill” encounter. The defensive positions that the backs had so assuredly regained post contact left a tapestry of open green field, devoid of any players in attendance (and at one stage me waving a set of crutches like a samurai sword!). I would like to think that the efforts previously had literally left the lads exhausted with the sheer effort from the previous games; however in discussion between the boys and the coaching team it appeared to be due to lack of concentration and the importance of these training encounters that was to blame.
Not to distract the attention from the marvellous effort of the boys in their comprehensive victories; but I’m sure we would all agree, that to reach the top of the pile we need to ensure we concentrate and show all of our positive traits from first game to last; from first minute to last second and from warm up to warm down. The boys should be greatly impressed with their efforts; and all the spectators of their supportive chanting from the side-lines. Be assured that if we can compete in the way we did against the opposition from numbers 1-13; subs and coaches; mums, dads, grandparents and friends – There will be no need to ask the weekly question “Who are we?” as our opponents thoughts will always be –
“Here are they! – an goodness they look good!”
Onwards and upwards hopper and hopp-ites – See you next week