Preston Grasshoppers 99 Kirkby Lonsdale 0: Hoppers crush hapless Kirkby Lonsdale

On a day to leave the statisticians rubbing their hands in ecstasy, Kirkby Lonsdale suffered the agony of seeing a struggling side crushed by ruthless Preston Grasshoppers.
Preston Grasshoppers thrashed Kirkby Lonsdale (photo: Mike Craig)Preston Grasshoppers thrashed Kirkby Lonsdale (photo: Mike Craig)
Preston Grasshoppers thrashed Kirkby Lonsdale (photo: Mike Craig)

The landmarks just kept coming as Hoppers recorded their third whitewash and highest score of the North Premier League campaign, but fell one conversion short of topping the magical 100 mark:

Five tries for No 8 Matt Lamprey, taking his tally to 22 for the North Premier League season.

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A hat-trick for Jordan Dorrington, making it 11 tries for the centre.

Two for winger Tyler Spence, taking him into double figures.

One for centre Sam Stott, his 14th of the campaign.

And 24 points from the boot of fly-half Ben Pearson to lift him to 113 this season.

All this in a ninth successive win which gave second-placed Hoppers a seven-point buffer from the chasing pack.

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Kirkby Lonsdale had struggled to put out a competitive line-up and found themselves on the back foot within 30 seconds as the hosts claimed the first of their 15 tries.

Hoppers head coach Paul Arnold, who rested a number of key men, made no apologies for his side’s almost unrelenting pressure. “You can only play what’s in front of you,” he said, “and we showed our respect for them by playing to the best of our ability.

“We went a bit greedy at times but we stuck to our guns and scored some really nice tries. Everyone’s had a good hit out.”

Among the non-regulars in the line-up, Arnold singled out prop Baille Leatham, who he said “played really well both in the scrum and around the park”, as well as hooker Harry Holden, deputising for skipper Christian Taylor, and lock Declan Norrington, who was another to get on the scoresheet.

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Other scorers were Alex Taylorson, within 60 seconds of coming on as a replacement, Ben Dorrington and Toby Harrison.

Hoppers’ discipline held up well, too, with just three penalties conceded as they confined Kirkby Lonsdale to their own half for almost the whole game.

Pearson mixed up his game well between letting the big men up front soften up the gallant visitors’ defence and releasing his lively backs to cut them apart.

Hoppers know they will face sterner challenges in the remaining five games and one can only sympathise with hapless Kirkby Lonsdale. But, in the end, it was “job done” … except for the mild frustration of not quite hitting three figures!

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