Caldy 13, Hoppers 13

Garth Dew

Garth Dew

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Preston Grasshoppers registered their second consecutive away draw as Caldy mounted a second half comeback to draw at Paton Field.

In a classic ‘game of two contrasting halves’ Hoppers took a 13-0 lead into the break, only for Caldy to come out a different team in the second period and had a chance to snatch a win with the final kick.

Hoppers had little ball in the second half and got on the wrong side of the penalty count after dominating territory and possession in the first 40 minutes.

Again they started a game extremely well with the first half being some of the best rugby of the season handling conditions well, dominating the set piece and bullying a big Caldy pack.

Unfortunately, similar to last time out, they were unable to close out a game and were guilty of not scoring enough points while in a dominant position.

Speaking after the game head coach Garth Dew said: “That was one we should have won, but it’s a draw on the road and we’ll take positives from that, even though we are disappointed.

“We started well and exerted a lot of pressure but we weren’t clinical when we needed to be and should have been 20-up by the break. The scrum went well and we dominated them in the first half, teams are not breaking us down and it’s from our mistakes and penalties they are scoring.”

Hoppers started well and set the tempo early winning ball in the opposition half and were unlucky to be penalised at a scrum whist going forward deep in the 22. They eventually won a penalty as Caldy offended on their line and Sean Taylor got the first points from the kicking tee. They had a couple of chances with kicks through but both Ally Murray and Jack Ward saw their efforts grounded by the Caldy full back with Hoppers players agonisingly close.

With half an hour gone they had a try as captain Andy Napier was at the back of a rolling maul to touchdown, Taylor added the conversion and a second penalty on the stroke of half time when Alex Zavallis-Roebuck was cynically pulled back chasing a kick.

Caldy came out in the second a renewed team and got an early try to settle the nerves and bring a passionate home crowd into the game.

They crossed the line when Jack Parker grounded a catch and drive as Hoppers gave away a couple of penalties and allowed the hosts to kick to the corner.

Gavin Roberts landed the conversion and added two penalties, one midway through the half and the other on the 78th minute, there was still time for the officials to award yet another penalty but the centre’s kick drifted wide.