Hull Ionians 43 Preston Grasshoppers 15
Preston Grasshoppers were unable to build on their impressive win over Leicester Lions last week as they fell to a 43-15 defeat away to Hull Ionians.
The hosts were always going to be a tougher test than last week’s opposition, having just returned from a season in League One North and winning all but one of their games so far.
And the promotion hopefuls made the best possible start, scoring the first try of the game after just one minute, which kicked the Hoppers into life.
The visitors went searching for a response, and looked in control before they were undone by an intercepted pass on the halfway line, leading to Hull’s second try of the game.
Hull now found themselves on the front foot and scored their third minutes later, before sealing their bonus point try just past the half hour mark.
They did see their fly-half James Ferguson sin binned, as Hoppers’ No.10 Lewis Allen put his side’s first points on the board with a penalty just before half-time.
Ionians continued the second half in the same vein as the first, stretching the Hoppers defence with quick hands in the backline to score three more tries.
There were more yellow cards to be shown as Hoppers’ Reece Tomlinson and Hull’s Alex Torkington were given 10 minutes on the sidelines, as Hull looked to have sealed the win.
The scoreline seemed a little harsh on the visitors though, and was made more respectable with Ally Murray’s try and a superb solo effort from Allen.
The fly-half showed great footwork to beat Ionians’ defence and score underneath the posts.
It came too late for the Hoppers but head coach Garth Dew thought there were plenty of positives to take home from Brantingham Park.
He said: “I thought our endeavour was really good today, we did work hard and we did cause a few problems in attack. But ultimately they were just a better side, and they got the win.
“We’ve got a lot of character in the team, and we’ve got some really good young lads.
“If we learn from our mistakes week by week, then I think we can go on to become a real force in this league.”
Saturday sees Hoppers host Chester at Lightfoot Green, and Dew hopes his side can bounce back with a win.
“Chester are a good side, very well organised and have a good defence,” he said. “But I believe we can compete and beat any team in the league, and the message will be to continue working hard and learn from our mistakes.”