Preston Grasshoppers suffer new year hangover

Howard breaks the Huddersfield lines (photo: Mike Craig)
Howard breaks the Huddersfield lines (photo: Mike Craig)

Hoppers 22 Huddersfield 27

Preston Grasshoppers looked to start the New Year with a return to winning ways after the disappointment at Fylde and having dominated the match at Huddersfield, only to lose it in the last 10 minutes, they had a point to prove.

The first quarter of the match was a fairly even contest before Hoppers lost Murray to a yellow card in the 12th minute.

With the hosts a man down, Huddersfield pressurised the Preston line and Johnson executed an easy drop goal.

Huddersfield immediately attacked the Preston try line where they were awarded a scrum five metres out in front of the posts. The ball was secured and passed out to winger Workman to score. Johnson’s conversion attempt failed but Huddersfield had a commanding lead.

From the restart Hoppers were put on the defence and despite repeatedly clearing their lines, time and again they were denied possession until full-back Nathan Pope, making his first appearance, collected the ball inside his own 22 and broke away to the half way line only for the ball to be lost in contact.

As the half-time whistle sounded the teams went in with the score at 8-0 to the visitors.

After the break, a clearing kick from Tyler Spence was collected on the halfway line by Ali Murray who then raced towards to Huddersfield 22 and found support from Spence, who ran on to score under the posts. Alex Ward converted and Preston were back in the game.

The battle for possession intensified and penalties, two to the visitors and one to their hosts, pushed the score on to 10 – 14.

Matthew Crow put Hoppers into the lead with a try under the posts and the conversion was good.

The lead was short-lived though when only five minutes later Huddersfield replacement prop, Battye crossed the Preston line. A penalty by Johnson and another try by Stewart put Huddersfield firmly in the lead with 10 minutes to go.

Then Preston, camped on their opponents’ try line, were awarded four penalty scrums from where Lamprey, in the last minute, burst over the line. The final score was 27-22.

Hoppers head coach Paul Arnold was disappointed,

He said: “We know that they are a good side.

“We made some poor decisions with the ball in hand and they schooled us at the breakdown.

“I was happy that we fought back for the losing bonus point.

“We’ll put this down to a Christmas hangover and with players coming back from injury, we will be looking for a response next week”.