Late score denies battling Hoppers

Reece Tomlinson

Reece Tomlinson

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Preston Grasshoppers were denied a memorable victory after a late Sedgley Park try took the spoils in a hotly contested derby.

They left with two bonus points, which will be more than most teams who visit Park Lane, but this was a case of small margins making big differences.

Hoppers put in a solid performance all around the park and were much improved over recent games but they were undone by a few small errors, missed tackles and simple mistakes.

Head Coach Garth Dew said; “It’s a massive disappointment not to win as this was a big improvement in performance and we thought we had done enough to win the game.

“We got our tactics right on the back of some hard truths and a lot of analysis in the week but some small errors like missing touch, feeding at the scrum and missed tackles cost us.”

“We are a young side and maybe the lack of an old head in tight situations would help but you can’t fault the application of the guys and there are a lot of positives to take away

“I thought Billy Woof did well on debut at 12 and once again Chris Taylor was outstanding and lead what is a very impressive back row with Jack Walker, Andy Napier and Will Lees.

“Moving forward we need to be pragmatic and build on performances like these and learn from them, I’m still learning as a coach and we’ll continue to improve.”

Hoppers started slowly and conceded the first try in the opening minutes as Ben Black touched down. The hosts dominated the early exchanges and when Jamie Harrison scored from close range midway through the half a repeat of the Ampthill score looked on the cards.

However a spirited fight back saw Reece Tomlinson score his first Hoppers try from a catch and drive and when Ally Murray gathered the restart it was soon a level game as Chris Taylor powered his way over.

Hoppers even managed to take the lead on the stroke of half time as Rich Morton got Hoppers third try, Lewis Allen converting all Hoppers scores.

Hoppers again started the second half on the back foot and allowed Callum McShane to score pretty much untouched to level the scores but again they responded well from the restart forcing a scrum which Taylor drove into the 22 before superb support from Will Lees so him step the full back for a fine score.

Hoppers were reduced to 14 men as John Embelton received a yellow card which was quickly followed by a Steve Collins try but Matt Riley missed the simple conversion.

Sedgley were also reduced to 14 as Liam West was shown a red card for dangerous play and minutes later an Allen penalty extended the lead to five points.

Sedgley piled on the pressure and after butchering a chance out wide they won a scrum against the head before Juan Crous powered his way over for the game winning try.