Same old story for Hoppers

Lewis Allen

Lewis Allen

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Once again Hoppers flattered to deceive going into the last quarter with a narrow lead but failing to close out the game.

A rueful head coach Garth Dew reflected: “We played most of the rugby, particularly in the first half, made five clean line breaks but failed to capitalise.

“Our defence was solid for 95% of the game but we made some silly errors that again cost us.

“The pressure is on now for a five-point win next week at home to bottom club Stockport although you can take nothing for granted.”

Hoppers started brightly, dominating in the tight and making good yardage and took the lead after four minutes with a Lewis Allen penalty.

In their first attack, a penalty from the hosts’ kicker Palmer made it all square before Allen replied three minutes later to regain the lead.

The home pack conceded two strikes against the head but started to gain ground with a series of pick and drives but Hoppers defence was good and after Allen was wide with another penalty shot, a break from Sam Kindred set up a five5-metre line out.

But Street managed to break out and after a clearing kick was misfielded, set up a powerful line out drive from the 22 which produced a converted try for prop Jake Dodd.

Things looked bad for Hoppers, when home scrum half Nick Thatcher raced away to touch down under the sticks only for play to be brought back to half way for a knock on spotted by a touch judge and, despite shading both possession and territory, Hoppers trailed 10-6 at the break.

Hoppers again started well after the break and a run from Mark Murray led to Allen using his pace to ground an astute grubber kick. His kick failed but Hoppers were a point in front although the advantage was short-lived as indiscipline at a ruck was punished.

Hoppers hit back from the restart when the back row combined only to be denied feet short of the line illegally, bringing a yellow card for Thatcher.

A move worthy of a try was compromised as Allen kicked the three points to regain the lead at a precarious 14-13.

Then the turning point as, with Hoppers on the attack, lock Reece Tomlinson was harshly sin-binned after a forward altercation and this unsettled his side as missed tackles in midfield resulted in home full back Andy Murray sprinting away from halfway for a converted try.

Again indiscipline gifted another penalty to extend the home lead but, restored to full strength, Hoppers went all out for a score and losing bonus point but again came close but failed to get the all-important touchdown.