Sheffield Tigers 15 Preston Grasshoppers 3

James Fitzpatrick drives through'Photo: Mike Craig
James Fitzpatrick drives through'Photo: Mike Craig

Preston Grasshoppers made the short trip to Sedgley Park looking to reverse the narrow victory their oppositions enjoyed at Lightfoot Green in August.

Preston Grasshoppers made the short trip to Sedgley Park looking to reverse the narrow victory their oppositions enjoyed at Lightfoot Green in August.

In front of a vociferous crowd and in miserable, wet conditions they made a promising start with a series of attacks pinning the Tigers deep inside their half for the first 10 minutes of the game.

The Sedgley defence remained solid and when they finally cleared the ball it was their forwards’ turn to pressure the Hoppers’ line.

Then, as has been the case in this tightly competitive league, the game settled into a fairly even tussle for possession and territory with neither side dominating the play.

With the play wandering back and forth, for over half an hour the match was an uneventful affair until, from a lineout on Hoppers’ 22m line, the Tigers drove towards the posts.
Matthew Riley touched down, Stephen Collins converted and Preston were 7 -0 down.

The travelling supporters’ hopes were raised when, with a minute to go to half time, the Sedgley prop, Black was shown a yellow card for a deliberate knock-on.

From the penalty, Hoppers found touch for a lineout on the Tigers’ 5m line only to throw the ball to the tail where it was lost and the half finished with the score at 7 -0.

Preston started the second half brightly and from a series of phases on the Sedgley 22 they were awarded a penalty in front of the posts. Davidson teed the ball up only for it to float wide of the upright.

Sedgley responded immediately when winger Lowthion broke to the Preston 22. A penalty kick from Collins’ sailed over and the score moved on to 10 – 0.

The play then resumed its flat and, frankly un-entertaining pattern, Sedgley slowing the ball and Hoppers struggling to find their way forward. A ray of light glimmered when after 73 minutes, Preston wing Tyler Spence collected a long clearance inside his own half.

Usually fleet-footed, he set off on one of his trademark sprints only to slip on the greasy surface.

The ball was picked up by his opposite number, Lowthion who then ran on to score in the corner. A ray of light glimmered when after seventy-three minutes, Preston wing, Tyler Spence collected a long clearance inside his own half. Usually fleet-footed, he set off on one of his trademark sprints only to slip on the greasy surface. The ball was picked up by his opposite number,

Lowthion who then ran on to score in the corner. Collins missed the conversion but with five minutes to go the chance of a losing bonus point was lost.

Collins missed the conversion but with five minutes to go the chance of a losing bonus point was lost.

After the match Head Coach Paul Arnold commented: “After a good start we had too many errors. They are a good side and we struggled to break them down. At 10-3 a cruel slip cost us the bonus point.

“The heart and effort was good but the decision-making was poor.”