Preston Grasshoppers’ back line help power hosts to victory against Macclesfield
Hoppers 42 Macclesfield 14A third successive home win sent out a warning to Preston Grasshoppers’ North Premier League rivals as they ran in another six tries to leapfrog Macclesfield into the top three.
Head coach Paul Arnold was left with a pleasing selection conundrum after seeing a back division which he might not have envisaged a month ago put in an impressive display behind a dominant pack.
“I may have to start rotating players after the way the back line put their hands up,” he said. “We are showing strength in depth.”
It was all made possible, he added, because the set piece laid down a marker, bossing the Macc pack from of the start.
“It was good to have props Oga Mabaya and Pete Altham firing together and both playing the full 80 minutes,” he added.
There was praise too for lock Ewan Naylor in an other hard-working display.
The first quarter contained two identikit tries from penalties to the corner, a driving line-out maul and touchdowns from the respective hookers, Sam Moss for the visitors and Christian Taylor for Hoppers, both converted from the touchline.
But once the hosts got their noses in front just before half-time, there was no stopping them. Ally Murray’s quick tap after a mark sent Sam Stott racing over from 60 metres, closely followed by a try by Luke Procter from Matt Lamprey’s scrum pick-up.
Centre Stott, in another barnstorming game, got his second soon after the break to clinch the bonus point.
And, although Macclesfield responded with a try by fly-half Will Davies after scrum-half Alex Davies’s 40-metre break, Hoppers went on to a comfortable victory with further tries from Lamprey and fly-half Ben Pearson, who sliced through untouched to round off a good afternoon’s work which included him landing all six conversions.
There were a couple of late near-misses in the corner, but overall Hoppers could be well satisfied with their work.
In a game of 24 penalties, Macclesfield managed to pick up three yellow cards, while the only downside for Hoppers were more injuries – Taylor again suffering a knee problem and winger Jacob Browne taking a blow to the head.