Preston Grasshoppers succumbed to a heavy defeat against league leaders Caldy at Paton Field, writes HENRY WOODSFORD.
Caldy ran in nine tries - four of which were scored by Jack Lavin – in a big win, despite Hoppers having long periods of territory and pressure.
Hoppers head-coach Garth Dew said: “It’s not a nice scoreline but there’s plenty to build on from our performances.
“When we kept the ball in hand we looked quite dangerous and had Caldy on the back foot for spells of the game.
“The next four games define our season, and we’ve got to play the style of rugby we showed today.
“We’re quite a fit team and the attitude has been good, but the disappointing thing today was our defence, to concede nine tries in the manner we did was frustrating.”
Caldy were ahead after four minutes when Nick Royle raced in for an easy score.
Lavin then doubled Caldy’s lead when he ghosted through some woeful Hoppers defending, and converted his try.
Hoppers were on the scoreboard after 15 minutes courtesy of a Lewis Allen penalty, before tries from JJ Dickinson and Lavin put Caldy into a 24-3 lead.
Hoppers then dominated the final 10 minutes of the first half, and strong ball carrying from Phil Mills, Ally Murray and full-back Niall Crosley was rewarded just before half-time.
After several phases, Chris Taylor crossed the whitewash, and Allen converted to give Caldy a 24-10 lead at the break.
Lavin bagged his hatrick try after 48 minutes, but Hoppers showed what they are capable of – moving the ball nicely in the backs which put Caldy’s defence on the backfoot.
Mills dotted down for a deserved try after breaking the gainline, with Allen converting to make it 31-17.
But just three minutes later, Caldy extended their lead through Lavin’s fourth try, which he duly converted.
Further tries from Rhys Hayes, John Broxson and Nick Royle added gloss to an already flattering scoreline.
The result leaves Hoppers bottom of National League Two North, with two huge home fixtures against fellow strugglers Scunthorpe and Otley coming up.