Pocklington 17 Preston Grasshoppers 25
This was a ‘top versus bottom clash’ but that was not the way the game turned out and the result was still in doubt with just 10 minutes left on the clock.
The home side certainly raised their game and, as Hoppers’ coach Paul Arnold said: “When you are top of the league you become every opponents’ cup final but we managed to grind out another important bonus point win.”
With the heavy ground conditions not favouring open rugby, Pocklington attacked from the kick off with a series of pick and drives and full-back Chris Pollock gave his side the lead with an easy penalty on six minutes.
Hoppers defended some further pressure and began to enjoy some possession and good carries by Ollie Trippier and James Fitzpatrick took play deep into the home 22.
Alex Hurst was high tackled yards from the line resulting in a yellow card for home No.8 Jack Holbrough.
Opting for the scrum, Hoppers were on the scoreboard with a trademark pushover try from Matt Lamprey but the kick failed.
Hoppers used the man advantage to keep the pressure on but failed to turn it into points but a quick tap-penalty and miss-pass from Alex Ward put Sam Stott in unopposed for an unconverted try.
On the stroke of half time, Pollock took advantage of another easy penalty to make the score 10-6 at the break.
From the restart, some purposeful running from the home side tested the Hoppers’ defence and further indiscipline allowed Pollock to kick two penalties to put his side 12-10 ahead. A long clearance kick from Scott Jordan relieved the pressure and from a scrum in the home 22, the ball was released and the full-back finished off the move to retake the lead at 15-12 in the 55th minute.
A long run from Niall Crosley kept the pressure on and a strong drive from the pack put Lamprey in for the bonus point try and replacement kicker, debutant Jobe Roxby, added the extras.
Any thoughts of the floodgates opening as they did at Lightfoot Green were soon dispersed as some further strong carries took play into the away 22 and a lineout drive put Holbrough over.
And at 22-17 it was still game on until, with five minutes left, Roxby kicked a penalty to secure victory and deny a losing bonus point.