Too little too late for Hoppers

Ally Murray crossed the whitewash for Hoppers in the closing stages
Ally Murray crossed the whitewash for Hoppers in the closing stages
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Tynedale 26 Preston Grasshoppers 22

With an hour gone, Hoppers looked dead and buried at 26-3 down but a late revival almost took the spoils.

Despite dominating the game for large portions of the first half, Hoppers went into the break with a mountain to climb, 19-3 adrift.

Head coach Garth Dew said: “Again we created opportunities but were not clinical in finishing. You can’t give the opposition that sort of start and we gifted them two tries.

“The key message is that when you are in control, you need to bury the opposition.

“On the positive side, there was good impact from the bench and for the second week running, we finished strongly.”

Hoppers started well but a harsh yellow card for Jack Harrison for not retreating 10 metres at a penalty changed the game.

Tynedale took advantage, a forward drive leading to a try for centre Jack Harrison and more pressure saw a chip through touched down by wing Oli Walker minutes later.

Both were converted by influential home No.10 Ash Smith and the hosts were 14-0 ahead.

Restored to full strength, Hoppers replied with a penalty from Will Hunt, deputising for the unavailable Lewis Allen, and then laid siege to the home line.

Desperate defence kept them out but the pressure seemed certain to produce a score and it did, but unfortunately for Preston, at the other end.

As half-time loomed, a speculative grubber designed to break the defensive line was seized on by the home backs and Walker went the length of the pitch for a converted breakaway try.

Tynedale started the better in the second period, and seemed to have secured victory with another interception try this time by wing Henry Hadfield, thus notching up the bonus point.

This seemed to cause the home side to lose some composure and, as they tired, Hoppers came right back into the game.

First, a good exchange by Olly Viney and Niall Crosley put in Harrison but the kick failed.

Hoppers pack were now in control and after repeated warnings, the home No.8 was sin-binned and it was Hoppers’ turn to take advantage, as 
two forward drives led to tries by replacement hooker 
Matt Beatty and lock Ally Murray.

Harrison, taking over the kicking duties, converted both and the hosts were in disarray, and relieved minutes later to put the ball out of play to finish the game, leaving Hoppers with just the losing bonus point.