Hoppers safe from relegation

Dominic Moon crowned his 100th Hoppers appearance
Dominic Moon crowned his 100th Hoppers appearance
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Dudley Kingswinford 0 Preston Grasshoppers 32

Hoppers overcame initial stubborn resistance from winless Dudley Kingswinford at Heathbrook to ensure their National Two North status for another season.

The 32-0 victory may have seemed a formality before kick-off but the home team made Hoppers work hard for their points.

It was trench warfare during the first 25 minutes, with both sides going at each other hammer and tong at the breakdown, with the home side holding a distinct advantage at the scrum.

It took a tackle from last man Jack Ward to deny the home side the first try after a good break, and with Sam Wallbank sin-binned in the 21st minute for some over-enthusiastic rucking, the game looked to be swinging the way of the Midlands side.

But the yellow card seemed to galvanise Hoppers. After Lewis Allen kicked the away side in front with a penalty, a fumble upon fielding the high ball from the Dudley scrum-half led to a break from hooker Phil Mills, ending up with a try for Ward.

And on the stroke of half time, after Dudley’s scrum-half had been yellow-carded for a build up of offences, a great break from deep by full-back Sean Taylor sent Ally Murray away.

He passed the ball inside to captain Dominic Moon, who crossed the whitewash on his 100th league appearance for the Hoppers to make it 13-0.

The first score in the second half was vital.

And it came just a minute after the restart as a great piece of defending by winger Connor Trueman was quickly turned into attack as he put away Taylor for the try that killed the game off as a contes, Allen converting.

Further tries from Trueman and a last-minute effort from Taylor secured the victory for Hoppers, and they could have easily had more after being camped in their opponents half for the majority of the second period.

Coach Michael Lough said: “It was a very good result for us, especially as we prevented them from getting on the scoresheet.”