Narrow defeat for Hoppers

Phil Mills could not prevent Hoppers' defeat
Phil Mills could not prevent Hoppers' defeat
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Caldy 22 Preston Grasshoppers 21

Hoppers’ recent run of good results was ended following a frustrating defeat against Caldy at Paton Field.

They should have got more out of the game as there were glimpses of the free flowing rugby Hoppers can play with two very well worked tries.

But they lacked direction for large parts of the game, especially in the second half and were undone by Caldy’s line-out prowess which lead to three tries for hooker Neil Dowridge.

Head coach Michael Lough said: “We should have won –it’s very disappointing that we didn’t. The second half let us down as we drifted away for large parts of it, as we have done in far too many away games.”

“There were some good individual performances. Phil Mills was outstanding and Lloyd Davies played pretty well – we would have won the game if he had converted the try.”

It was Caldy that started the better, taking the opening kick-off in the Hoppers 22 with only a last ditch tackle saving a try.

They did take the lead with a Richard Vasey penalty only for Hoppers to draw level just a minute later after a superb chip and chase by Sean Taylor set Hoppers away before the hosts infringed and Davies converted the penalty.

This was the spark for Hoppers who dominated the next 15 minutes. Mills smashed his way through the midfield with great support from Ally Murray.

After good work at the breakdown Davies put in a long pass to Taylor who cut inside to score. Davies added the conversion and a penalty giving Hoppers a 13-3 lead.

Dowridge, got his first try after shoving Hoppers off a scrum and kicking a penalty to touch. Davies added a second penalty but Dowridge struck again and they sides went into the break with Hoppers 16-15 up.

In the second half, Dowridge walked over the line untouched and a combustible game saw Kilian Wallace yellow carded.

Hoppers defended well with 14 men and scored a try from Conor Trueman but the conversion was missed meaning Hoppers lost by a point.