Northwich 3, Preston Grasshoppers 81: Hoppers run amok in final league game

Preston Grasshoppers travelled to Cheshire to face bottom of the table, Northwich, for their last league game of the season, secure in the knowledge that they were already promoted to the National League.
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And it showed in their performance as they enjoyed a thoroughly convincing 81-3 victory.

Northwich started well and had much of the possession in the first ten minutes as they battled into the Grasshoppers’ 22 only to be denied a score by the solid defence which has been a cornerstone of this season’s success.

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When their visitors finally secured the ball the tide turned and a red card shown to Northwich’s Williams then opened the floodgates with tries by Oli Trippier, Tyler Spence, Jordan Dorrington, Rob Bramhall, two from Matt Lamprey and conversions in a tricky wind by Ben Pearson, giving Preston a score of 0 – 40 at half time.

Hoppers thrashed Northwich 81-3 (photo:Mike Craig)Hoppers thrashed Northwich 81-3 (photo:Mike Craig)
Hoppers thrashed Northwich 81-3 (photo:Mike Craig)

The second half brought continuing misery to the Northwich faithful as a further seven tries, two more each from Lamprey and Dorrington plus individual scores from Harrison Moulding, Declan Norrington and Mark Murray. Kicking into a strengthening wind, Pearson managed to convert just three of his attempts but the Hoppers side were always in control with fast, flowing passing moves and a dominating attack from the set pieces, all backed up with a well-drilled defence.

Northwich did not go away empty-handed though as a penalty on the Preston 22, in front of the goal, gave winger Husbands the opportunity to avoid the embarrassment of a double defeat to nil by Hoppers. With the wind behind him, he confidently slotted the kick making the final score 3 – 81.

There were several landmarks in this match. Along with Mark Murray, Matt Lamprey notched up his 100th appearance and Toby Harrison achieved his 50th. It was also the final League match in charge for head coach Paul Arnold who was quick to praise the achievements of his squad this season.

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“I am really proud of the way they have performed today,” he said.

"They played some really nice stuff, they were clinical and ruthless which is the best way to show respect to a team who have had a very hard year. Throughout the season the team have done all that I have asked of them and I am really happy to be finishing the League with another dominant victory. We now have the Lancashire Cup final to look forward to.”